It was crazy to come back to this blog post and read where I was at on May 17th and January 1st (below). It’s now December 15th and I’ve officially graduated Patmos! The Lord is so so faithful, and this is evident by my posts below, as well as the updates I sent out throughout my Patmos term. I’ve decided to share those updates here, in case you didn’t receive them or didn’t get a chance to read them earlier. I’ll also be posting “post Patmos” updates as I continue on this adventure of faith!
Shortly before I was to leave for Patmos in January, I received a phone call informing me that they were no longer having a spring term. For many reasons, this decision was best for their team, as well as future Patmos students. That being said, I was then asked to consider coming in the fall instead. I accepted, knowing that the Lord was/is calling me to participate in this program. Here is an updated list of details/logistics that you may find beneficial to know:
I leave around August 19th, and will return around December 8th.
I am able to receive letters, but no care packages.
During my time I will be posting updates on the Patmos website that you can follow (my username is yet to be determined, but will update you with it when I know).
The year has inevitably come to close while we welcome in 365 new days. As we often do around this time of year, I’ve been spending much time reminiscing on the last twelve months that have quickly come to pass.
In two simple words: this year has left me in awe and confusion. Simultaneously.
Almost exactly one year ago my life was flipped upside down, turned around, and taken down a path I never could’ve imagined.
One year ago I was searching for acceptance at the bottom of a bottle. I was longing for meaningful friendships in the midst of the high. I was desperate for deep, unconditional love as I searched physical relationships. I dreamed of security and identity in the depths of a dark depression. I was lost, scared, and empty. And yet, I thought I had my life under control- that I could handle it.
One year ago I attended a conference that would forever change the course of my life. I learned what it looked like to have authentic friendships and how to be a real friend. I learned about God’s character and His most important role as our perfect Father. I learned about love and forgiveness, and the freedom that comes from being in a grace filled, merciful relationship with Jesus Christ.
One year ago I said, “Here I am. I’m sick of living this double life. I choose you, Jesus. I choose today, I’ll choose you tomorrow. Again and again, I choose you. I will go where you send me and I will be obedient to the calling you place on my life.”
And since then there’s been no looking back. I’ve been absolutely blown away, seriously speechless, at all the Lord has done in my life since truly surrendering to Him. I remember standing at a table at this conference with some friends and saying, “I wish we could just travel the world and tell people about Jesus.” That same time one year ago, I applied to go on my first mission trip to Milwaukee, WI.
It was here that I found family in twelve other God fearing students striving to grow their faith and deepen their trust in Jesus. I was able to get a tiny glimpse of what life is like for people of color. I was able to share the hope and love of God with kids and adults alike. I experienced good food, unique music, and a range of diverse people and cultures. But most memorably, my heart became more and more aligned with God’s heart for the world and my desire to meet people of different colors, cultures, and backgrounds overflowed.
The day we headed home from spending two months in Milwaukee I was sitting in the car with my friends Donovan and Jay. I clearly remember saying something along the lines of, “I don’t think this idea came from myself, but I think God wants me to be a missionary and I do NOT want to do that.” However, my heart continued to break for the weary and lost throughout our world, and my desire to reach these people grew exponentially after returning to campus in the fall.
My passion for the world and hope in Jesus carried me through this last fall 2016 semester. When my depression told me more times than not that I was good for nothing, that I’d be better off staying in bed all day, and tried robbing me of my joy and hope the Lord pursued my heart in ways I’d never experienced before. When I was presented with the opportunity to go to East Asia in order to serve Him I couldn’t help but say yes.
The very first day we got to EA the idea God planted in my heart while in Milwaukee, the idea I didn’t agree with, became clear. I knew the very first day that we got to our city in Asia that I would spend a substantial amount of time there one day as a missionary. This was further confirmed as I met students, experienced the culture, and especially when I was able to witness a girl accept Jesus and her Lord and Savior.
How!? How is it that just four months ago I wouldn’t even consider the idea of being a missionary, and now I’m totally confident that this is what I’m supposed to be doing? Only God… only God.
Given all of this- my struggle with depression, ever increasing desire to grow in my faith, and my passion for being a world missionary- I’m beginning to take proactive steps in fulfilling my calling. After months of praying, conversing with wise council, and weighing my options I applied to a program called Patmos, and was accepted shortly after.
Patmos is a 16-week reality discipleship program committed to growing students into life long laborers for Christ. Taken directly from their website, “Patmos exists to produce a love for Jesus Christ that is so evident that it reflects 1 Corinthians 2:2: ‘For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.’ This is a love that is so deep it produces a “go anywhere, do anything” disciple of Jesus Christ.”
This is a rigorous program that will challenge me physically, emotionally, and spiritually in order to help me identify my sin struggles and the areas of my life I’m not trusting to Christ and then build be back up in what the Bible says. I will be taking Bible classes for seminary credit, as well as work toward team and individual challenges.
I believe that Patmos will provide me the necessary environment and resources in order to be equipped to serve the Lord in every aspect of my daily life. It’s said that 50% of missionaries quit within their first year because they lack the training and knowledge they need. At Patmos I will receive experiences and training that will set me apart in order to thrive not just in my job, but as a follower of Christ in general.
After sharing all of this with you, I want to ask you to join me in praising God for the work only He can do. Join me in praising Him for redeeming my life, giving all who believe in Him an everlasting hope and joy, and the ways He provides. Let us also pray that my time at Patmos would be fruitful, that I would persevere until the end, and that I would be open to challenge and transformation.
Lord willing, I will be leaving on January 21st and return May 14th. In order to go this coming Spring semester I need $5,000 before I leave. This covers my living expense, food, training materials, cost of classes, and other related components. These funds go directly to supporting me in going. In addition to my own financial contribution, I want to extend the invitation to you to partner with me in ultimately expanding God’s Kingdom. There is absolutely no way that I would be here if it weren’t for your continued support and finances through Milwaukee and East Asia. Both of these trips have been an incredible investment, and I am so thankful for your willingness to answer God’s calling in Matthew 28:18-20 by sending me. Your support has eternal significance and reward, as you are part of bringing hope and saving news to people all around the globe.
After prayerfully considering this investment, would you be willing to help support me financially? If so, you can do so here: http://www.patmosreality.com/product/tuition-spring-2017/. Make sure to click my name in the drop down menu. If this isn’t working, message me for my home address and you can send support directly to my house and I will deposit it to Patmos.
There is no amount of thanks that could accurately sum up my gratefulness for your partnership and willingness to support me in expanding God’s kingdom. This has been a wild and rewarding journey thus far, and I’m so excited to continue to bring you alongside all that God is doing!
If you have ANY questions, comments, or concerns please please please reach out to me and ask! I would hate for any miscommunication, concerns, or assumptions to go on without being addressed.
Thank you again and HAPPY 2017!