Hi A Step in the Journey Readers! I’m Jennifer and I am so excited that Laura Beth is letting me share with you some of what I’ve learned in my experiences with missions!
I guess I should start by telling you a bit about me and where I blog 🙂 I’m the coffee addicted mind behind Finding My Way in Texas. I’m an avid reader, a Jesus lover, a wife, photographer, mom to fur baby Riah, blogger and craft-a-holic! I grew up in Ontario, Canada and only moved to Texas to get married last summer. Its been a bit of an adjustment going from the Big City to tiny Texan town, but I love it here! I can’t imagine life anywhere else now.
There was a time when I was seriously considering full time missions to Romania, ultimately God didn’t lead me in that direction, but I don’t want to get ahead of myself!
The church that I grew up in was a charismatic, non denominational type church that was very missions oriented. It seemed like someone from the church was always going on missions trips. I “caught the bug” early, so to speak. I went on my very first trip to Guatemala when I was 13 and again when I was 18, To say that those trips impacted my life would be an understatement. I came home each time with a renewed perspective. I was blessed. My family was blessed. And even though we were on the low end of middle class, we had FAR more than most of the people that I met.
When I was 16 I had an opportunity to travel to Romania for 2 months with an organization called Teen Mania. It’s based just a few hours from where I live now, in Garden Valley, Texas. I can honestly say that this trip permanently changed my life. It changed the way I looked at the people around me. It changed my faith and made it more real that I thought possible. It changed me and helped me establish who I was as a person with no outside expectations or influence. It changed my heart for missions.
There really are no words to perfectly describe what I saw God do while I was in Romania in 2000. It literally was biblical. Romania was getting ready for their first democratic election since the fall of communisim in 1989. The people were hungry for change. They were hungry for truth. And they were starving for the love of God. We saw the beginnings of revival in that country and it was incredible to see so many hearts and lives change.
I learned so much about who I was as a person. Up until that trip my identity had pretty much been wrapped up in who my family was at church, who my parents expected me to be, and what I thought everyone else wanted. Being thousands of miles away from everyone and everything I knew I had a chance to get in touch with the real me. I discovered a passion for Gods Word. A hunger to see people change. And I tuned into that still small voice of the Lord.
I came home changed. My inhibitions were gone. I wasn’t afraid to speak up and voice my opinion. I had HUGE expectations for what God could and would do through me. My gratitude meter was through the roof. And God continue to use me in new ways at home.
12 years (CRAZY) later and I still feel the impact of that trip. My relationship with God has continued strong, I know his voice and I am not afraid to be used by him. My life has gone in a direction that I never expected (Big city Canadian in small town Texas?), but that’s perfectly ok with me. God has a perfect plan for my life and He has one for yours too!
Thanks so much Laura Beth for letting me share a bit about how my trips have changed me! Its nice to take a few moments to remember, and be changed again 🙂