When I was nine, there was a huge tornado in Plainfield, IL. This is where much of my extended family lived at the time. Several of their homes were severely damaged, and one even ripped completely off its foundation. As a result of this event, I was faced with the question of my own eternity: I was wondering if I had been one of the many who died in the natural disaster, if I would have gone to heaven or not. This question led to my mother explaining the Gospel to me, and praying with me in our minivan, as we drove to my cousins' home to offer some relief. That's how my journey of sanctification began.
Throughout my life, God has been developing a heart for people of different cultures: from tutoring students who were learning English while I was a high school student, living in an orphanage in Mexico after graduating from college, serving as a leader on various trips with student ministries, being a member of the Short Term Mission Leadership Team at my church, to serving with Commission to Every Nation in Uganda. Well, the journey continues…
I grew up about an hour outside of Chicago, went to a smallish church, and attended public schools. I spent four years in Michigan, at Cornerstone University, earning a degree in Secondary Education. After spending my loan deferment period volunteering at Casa Hogar Lirio delos Valles II in Chihuahua, Mexico, and seemingly endless hours selling shoes at Payless Shoe Source & tutoring children at Huntington Learning Center for two and a half years, God gave me a full-time teaching position. I was a high school teacher for seven years. I had tenure; I enjoyed working with the staff; I had seen God use me as His tool in the lives of various students, and my job was basically secure.
But I began sensing God calling me to take a step of faith in a different direction. I know it seemed foolish to some… maybe many. Yet, it’s not easy to ignore the conviction of the Holy Spirit. Eventually I asked for a leave-of-absence from the superintendent and school board, so that I could go to Uganda for 13 months. When I sought the advice of my pastor about this decision, his response included these words: “you have to stop doing what is secure.” This got me thinking… I had been holding on to what seems secure to me, possibly to the point of being disobedient to God's direction for my life.
But really, there is nothing secure about being outside of God’s will.
Well, after obeying, and serving God in Uganda for a year, I began to feel convicted that my time was not up. The security of returning to a job back in America is what helped me have the confidence to leave in the first place, but God was revealing that the leave-of-absence was really just His mercy on me in the midst of my weak faith. He was clearly calling me to let go of my teaching position back in America and return to Uganda. So, that’s what I’ve done.
ABOUT THE MINISTRY
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”
I am on a journey to Uganda, knowing God will be with me wherever I go.