Be still and know that I Am God.
I think this past year has been one of coming to a resting place with God and where I am in life. But before I can talk about this past year I think I need to talk about the previous year.
A year ago I was finishing up my second round of vaccinations in order to go to Karamoja, Uganda to work with the Orthodox Presbyterian Mission. But let me back up to a year before that, January 2013.
I found out about a ministry in Charlotte, One7 that brings kids into their soccer club program and provides housing for immigrants and needs for the needy. They needed guys to come and hangout with the kids as well as serve as a small group leader on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
I got hooked on it, I loved serving in a way I hadn’t yet been able to do my whole life. I was starting to understand what I thought the way I should be living my life, one of servitude to those who are in greatest need spiritually and physically. I went once or twice every week consistently from April to June and quickly got to know the kids and loved being there. It just felt so, right.
In mid June I got a call from Isaiah, my brother who was at the Boardwalk Chapel Ministry in New Jersey. They were short on staff for the Summer and asked if I wanted to come. So without any money for the trip and without waiting to get a recommendation from my Pastor at the time, I said yes. I’d just read where Jesus is walking by the sea and sees Peter and calls to him “Come follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” . God was teaching me to be spontaneous, asking me if I would trust Him even when I can’t see around the bend.
I spent the Summer learning a lot about evangelizing, playing music, and having conversations about Jesus with random people on the boardwalk and seeing some of them come to Jesus!
Before I came home I’d already signed up to be part of a team doing a Water Project in Honduras. I wanted to go for several reasons. My cousins, who I am very close to had lived in Honduras for several years. Besides that, two of them were going on the trip.
In November we left and spent a full week in a remote village working along side the people digging trenches for the piping and getting to experience what life is like without electricity, running water, or much of anything else. It was a humbling experience and got me to ask a lot of questions about my theology and what I believed and thought about living a ‘Christian Life’.
Before I left for the trip I sent in my application to the Uganda Mission board to see if they would accept me and let me ‘visit’ for 3 months doing diaconal work, namely working on construction projects.
Before Christmas I got the ‘yes’ I needed and planned for going. Crazy things happened around that time and I almost didn’t end up going. But God came through and I put my last penny to the trip and left on a plane to spend 90 days in Uganda.
Right before the trip that I’d read Shane Claiborne’s book The Irresistible Revolution which turned my world on end and got me to ask a hundred questions about everything I thought I’d believed.
My time in Uganda was very sweet. Many moments of missing home and other comforts, like a laptop or even music on an ipod, but it was overall very good. I got a lot of life experience living there and learned a lot of skills with concrete and metal.
I got home from Uganda unsure of what was next. I’d spent the last year and a half going going going. I hadn’t taken a deep breath yet. I took a week off before going back to restaurant work, which was probably the smartest thing I ever did. (Jet lag didn’t hit me until I had been in the States for over a week!)
In the past three years I’d been to Peru twice, Honduras, Uganda and had spent a Summer volunteering at the Boardwalk in New Jersey. What was next, Eastern Europe?
But as I settled into life I realized God was telling me to slow down. I’d spent the last year and a half going all around the world learning and seeing so much, and now He wanted me to sit down and take it easy. I felt guilty not jumping back into One7 and not having as much energy for other serving opportunities, I wasn’t sure what was going on. I finally realized I had not rested for a long time and I needed to regain my energy. Take a breath before I pass out and really can’t do anything.
Here I am. Remembering a year ago getting ready to go to Uganda, the adventurous part of me wants to do it again.
I want to talk about some small things in my life that in some ways are big. I feel like the year 21 for me is going to be in some ways a starting point for something big. I expanded my coffee business, selling at a local Farmers Market. I built a pyramid, I got a wood stove, have a chicken coop and 12 chickens. I’ve spent the last 8 years yearning to be able to do or have these things and now they have COME TRUE! I see this year as having a lot of potential.
In November I started going to a church with my brother and sister-in-law Josiah and Jo. The church was in so many ways an answer to prayer. I’d been looking for more in my walk with God and wanted a way to learn it. The Pastor is very spirit led and down to earth. I am always amazed how much power his words have. His relationship with God is amazing to see and inspiring. Last week I was asked to join the worship team and I readily agreed. I will be on acoustic guitar or electric, as well as some vocals and drums.
What’s next for me? I don’t know. I think God has me here for maybe a year and then He’s moving me to Chattanooga; another dream that would come true. My best friend and cousin Jether is starting a farm with his family. I plan on joining them next year if things go as planned. If I do I would move down there and try to continue my coffee business there as I see potential. It will be a bittersweet time I think, moving away from my siblings and family here, but also being able to live with/near my family there in Chattanooga.
I am seeking to follow God and do what He wants me to do. I am working at putting ministry into a daily activity, like breathing. I want servitude to be so much apart of who I am that you can’t separate it from me. I want Jesus’ love to be seen through me. I’ve got a long way to go, but this is my prayer.