In my last post I mentioned going through a period of intense transition over the past few months. I felt I should get everyone up to speed as to what has been happening in my life since June.
On June 10th my former roommate Cory Jones married the love of his life in an awesome ceremony at their Church in Largo. My other roommate and I moved out the beginning of June so Cory and his new wife Caitlin could create their home together. I found a place to live about 5 minutes away with some friends of mine who are involved in a ministry called YoungLife. One of the guys living at the house was moving out in August so I crashed on the couch for about a month and a half until there was a room available to move into. Now I have a room and I’m just working on getting settled in.

Since December of 2006 I have worked for a mens clothing store called S&K Menswear. The store I was working at in Clearwater closed down in February of this year so I began commuting to Brandon which is about an hour away. In May we received word that the entire company would be closing and that our store will be closed by the end of August. I continued to work at the S&K Store in Brandon over the summer and helped close it down at the end of August. I was able to file for unemployment and I’m currently getting by on that in addition to money I was able to set aside before the company closed down. Not being committed to working a full time job has open many doors of volunteer work and ministry that I otherwise wouldn’t be able to do.

Around March of this year my 1998 Chevy Malibu finally bit the dust and left me without transportation. Since I didn’t have the funds to buy a car or even finance one, one of my college friends Scott and his wife Tabitha decided to loan me their second car until I find something else. They rarely drive it unless Scott needs to attend classes at the Seminary he’s attending in Orlando. Currently all of his classes are online so until he needs to begin commuting to Orlando for classes I have the privilege of borrowing their car.

Of all of the changes God has brought about in my life, this one I am most excited about! As I mentioned earlier several of my friends are involved in a ministry called YoungLife that was started in 1941 by a man named Jim Rayburn. I began learning more about the ministry over the summer and took a training course to become a Young Life leader. In the past few weeks God has been opening SO MANY doors and opportunities in this area of youth Ministry! I am SO excited to see each new possibility unfold! I will be keeping you updated about my progress in serving in this amazing ministry!

Whose plans?

It has been quite a while since I’ve posted on my blog. One reason is because I have been going through an intense period of transition over the past few months. Another reason is because, quite honestly I’ve been dealing with a period of intense Spiritual struggle. Allow me to explain:
The decision to delay my departure for China was by no means an easy one. I think to some extent I felt like a failure for telling literally everyone I knew that I would be leaving in July and that I believed God wanted me in China this upcoming year and then not going. There really was no way I could have gone. I hadn’t raised close to the amount of support I needed. But I had faith that God would provide! I believed that God would bring in every cent that I needed to go. When the money didn’t come in, I felt as though my faith was misplaced. And perhaps it was. See, it’s taken me a while to realize that our faith should not be in what we believe God can or will do for us. Because many times God does things in our life contrary to what we think He should. Looking back I understand that my faith should not have been in God to provide the money I needed but my faith should be in God. Period. Whenever our faith is in God + something else and that something else doesn’t come to fruition we can become discouraged and confused. Many times in our lives we find our plans colliding with God’s plans and when His will is done we can become bitter and angry because we feel we didn’t get our way. But if we live our lives in constant submission to His will then He will give us the Grace to praise Him whatever may come our way. Whether it be delayed plans, poverty, car problems, the death of a Child, loved one or some disaster we can rest secure in the knowledge that the God who loves us and redeems us has a plan for our lives that is far superior to ours.
It wasn’t until God brought me to this point that I could truly thank him for delaying my trip. He has opened up so many new doors for me and I am excited to see what His plans are for me over the coming year as I continue to prepare for China!

Where are my Sams?

I was watching the movie “Lord of the Rings—Return of the King” with some friends recently. It seems barely a moment goes by when my mind isn’t thinking about my rapidly approaching departure to China, so it’s not surprising that a phrase in the movie made me think of my current situation. Frodo and Sam are approaching Mt. Doom after months of traveling on their quest to destroy the Ring of Sauron. As they climb the mountain Frodo, the one chosen to carry the ring to its destruction falls from exhaustion and sheer inability to carry on. He begins to spek of how he feels defeated; as though he has lost the ability to move forward even one more step and it appears that even though they are so close, they might not make it. Then Sam, his friend and companion on the journey tries to rouse him, to encourage him on. But Frodo can’t find the strength the make it on his own. It’s at this moment Sam tells him:

“Come on, Mr. Frodo. I can’t carry it for you… but I can carry you!”

And in a tearful moment of strength and loyalty, the equally exhausted Sam heaves Frodo onto his back and carries him to the top of the mountain.

This made me think of my service in China in a new light. This call to China has been given to me and it’s one that I will answer. But I cannot make the trip alone. I need companions for my journey. I need a fellowship to go with me and carry me there.

Even if you cannot see China with your own eyes, and experience it yourself, YOU are my companions on this trip! I cannot do this without you! I will need your encouragement and commitment to “lift me up” every step of the way!

This is a journey we must make together! I cannot go alone! And I can think of no one else I want to “go with me” than you!