Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me.
This is the year that I was molded by the very hands our Savior.
My first year of college (& my first time having Christian/biblical education, at that), a mission trip to Haiti, & godly friendships that will continue on into eternity. It doesn’t even end at that.
I made my way 6.5 hours down the coast to Cannon Beach, Oregon, where I began attending Ecola Bible School. I was beyond ecstatic, but I knew I was in way over my head with jumping into academics after being two years out of school. At this point, the only thing I could do was give it all to God- which is where I should be standing in every situation anyway.
We dove into deep theological classes immediately & most of it continued in that manner. We covered many books of the bible, but not quite all (the rest would be covered in the second year of education at Ecola Bible School). A few examples of classes we had were: Eschatology (study of end times), Ecclesiology (study of the church), Youth Ministry, Personal Discple-Making, Biblical Archaeology & A Christian Perspective on Marriage and Dating. A few of my favorites were Missions, Personal Evangelism, & Acts.
My time at Ecola challenged me & grew me in so many ways- ways I had no idea needed growing. Stepping out of my comfort zone brought me to such great heights I thought I could never reach. These great heights involved sharing the gospel with the homeless (as part of my outreach at Operation Nightwatch in Portland), sharing my testimony with those I came in contact with, sharing a devotion in Haiti, & doing service within the community of Cannon Beach. I came to know what being the hands & feet of Christ really looked like. I learned to let go of all presuppositions & former ideas of how things should be. I learned to disregard all worries of what others might think of me. The only one I need approval from is my Creator, & He showed that He approves of me when He died on the cross for me.
(A man playing the piano at Operation Nightwatch)
As an aspiring/future missionary, I was overly thrilled when I learned that I had the opportunity to go on a mission trip with Ecola. I could either go to the Philippines to work with the blind, Haiti to work with the children/host a family camp, or to downtown Portland to work alongside & share the gospel with the homeless & those in rehabilitation. I applied for Haiti & the Philippines. God really blessed me in that I was chosen to a part of the team sharing the gospel in Tabarre, Haiti. The process leading up to the trip taught me more than I ever anticipated. Weeks after sending out support letters, no money was coming in, while others had their whole trip already funded. I was disappointed, doubtful, & most of all, questioning. I was in no place to do so when I have such a sovereign God, but my mere humanness was getting the best of me. In the end, I ended up with around $730 when I needed $1,000 to go. I began really doubting that I was going to be able to even go. I was informed that there was enough money in the budget to cover over what I hadn’t been able to raise. I was astounded at the way God can work to get us where He really wants us & so blessed that God took me to Haiti. It was there that He opened my eyes. I saw the need but also the hope in the eyes of the orphans. I got to share the love of God with the staff of the preschool run by our hosts. I got to experience a third-world country & lose my view of the entitlement we think we deserve.
The people I got to learn with, serve with, worship with, and spend every day with became an intregal part of my life & my walk with the Lord. I was challenged, loved, convicted, & encouraged. I grew in such leaps & bounds because of these people. In multiple instances, a close friend told me that they are going to support me when I become a full-time missionary. If this wasn’t assurance that I called to be a missionary, then I don’t know what is. I guess I’m doing this whole missionary thing right. I poured into others just as some did for me. Life experiences, stories, testimonies, insight, & even just encouraging talks. This godly community made me realize just how vital fellowship is in our relationship with God.
Living on the Oregon Coast helped me to fear God. The vastness of the beauty that I was surrounded with was quite overwhelming at times. To think that this is just what earth looks like, Heaven will be beyond all comprehension. God’s glory is so evident in our surroundings.