Here it is hot off the presses, my big news! No, I am not getting married, although that would be very exciting! I am however stepping down from being on staff with YWAM Pismo Beach.
Before I begin, I would like you to hear my heart. This is a big piece of news to drop in your lap, and so I want to share the process with you. Believe me it is just as strange, trying to write 23 years of life experiences in two pieces of paper. This however was not a drop of the hat decision, it has been something that I have been praying about for the past nine months.
I wish I could bring you in on each specific story, thought process, and detail that brought me to this decision, but that would take more paper than I own. So I would like to begin with a story, since those seem to explain things best.
About 20 years ago, I began to play doctor; we even have it on old family videos. I had a bag of plastic “doctor” tools that I carried around and mended my various family members with.
Fast forward a few years to college. It was there that I chose to major in biomedical sciences, continuing to pursue my desire to be a doctor. But I found myself searching and broken, unsure of the purpose of life and unsure that there was truly a God who loved and cared about me. I began to realize that school and dreams aside, I needed to make a choice; I either needed to be sold out for Jesus or be sold out for myself. He didn’t give me a middle of the road option.
So after a short mission trip to Mexico, and some solid conversations with an important mentor in my life, I made a choice to head to YWAM Pismo Beach to do my Discipleship Training School. It was there that my life was radically transformed, ruined for the ordinary in fact. I knew that I could no longer return to life as I had once known it.
As I have always been a lover of missions, the prospect of staying on staff became a reality. Here I was encouraged to dream big, so I took all of my passions for young people, traveling, administration, encouragement, injustice issues, music, and art and threw them all together and out came Project Sixty-One. Pioneering this ministry became one of the single most challenging, painstaking, and yet beautiful adventures I have ever been a part of. It taught me to take risks, to trust God even when it seemed impossible, and it showed me that in my weakness, God made beautiful things from the ashes.
But in this process my love for the medical took a backseat because I thought that without a degree, I was basically useless in that area. So I reluctantly set it aside and pursued other things, hoping God would give me a passion for something else. But I begin to realize that I was trying to turn away from a talent that God has gifted me with because it didn’t fit into the box that the world told me it should.
This story comes to a rather important close in the summer of 2011. It was in the heart of San Francisco that my passions unfolded in full. During my Emergency Medical Technician, or EMT, bootcamp class, I never felt more alive.
On my first 12 hour hospital shift I saw a baby, a girl my age, and an elderly man die. I came to class the next day and told my instructor that I wanted to quit. As I sat there and cried, so did he, and when I was finished he began to speak truth into my heart. He told me that many get the opportunity to experience the joys of new life, but few get the opportunity to cherish in the sacredness of death. We talked a lot about the ability to bring peace and compassion into the most traumatic of situations for both the patient and their family. And we talked about love and how we can really be the hands of Christ in the medical sphere.
From there I was sold. I’m of the opinion that we too easily get bogged down deciding what exact, specific, perfect thing that God has called to, and in the process we forget what He has and wants for us today. I believe that verse in Psalms that says, “take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart." One of the deepest desires of my heart is to bring healing, not just to the physical body, but to the heart as well. Of course, without God this is impossible, but with Him is promised to me in scripture.
After my EMT school, I realized I had come full circle. That little girl playing at doctor, is now a woman who desires to walk into the medical sphere and bring the love of Christ there.
And so that brings us to the present day. I have spent the last nine months prayerfully seeking God on what this reoccurring passion looks like. I also wanted to be responsible with this decision making process, knowing that flippancy isn’t something I strive for.
He has spent those months showing me that He was building a foundation in me while at YWAM Pismo Beach. Teaching me that my relationship with Him is more important than any grand ministry goals I could construct. He’s been showing me that it has been in this place that I have learned my identity in Him, knowing that I am loved and valued by the most high King. And it is through these things that I have learned what it means to love others.
It has been here at YWAM Pismo Beach that I have learned how to dream big, create a ministry, plan and lead teams overseas and in the states, disciple others, manage an office, lead various fundraising and administrative departments, teach, among many other skills. Not that I would profess to know it all, because I will always be learning and growing.
I have had the opportunity to go to seven different countries in my time here, doing outreach in various capacities. Some of which include, human trafficking, children’s, orphan’s, English studies, college, tribal, medical, and disaster relief ministries.
Looking back on it all I am amazed that God could send me on so many amazing adventures and my heart could grow and change so much in five years. It truly has been a season of building a foundation.
What’s next from here you may ask? My immediate plans are to move back to Fort Collins, Colorado on May 1st, 2012. I am hoping to get a job as an EMT for about a year, while taking a few courses at a local community college. I am then looking into a paramedic school in Denver. This schooling will be about a year in total. And from there I trust that God will guide and direct my steps as He always has.
So yes, I will be stepping down from YWAM Pismo Beach, but no, I am not finished with RescueNet. RescueNet, YWAM’s international disaster response team, does not require me to be on staff at a YWAM base to remain a part of the team. As this disaster response team only adds to my love and joys of assisting others medically, I have a strong desire to remain an active team member. This means that as disasters come up and deployments arise, I will be a part of as many as I am able.
What does this mean for Project Sixty-One (the short-term outreach ministry)? As Project Sixty-One is a ministry I pioneered, I have the capacity to take it with me. I already have some plans brewing as to how I can still keep it an active ministry while living in Colorado, taking teams overseas on short-term missions.
As for overseas missions, is this the end of traveling for me? I can, with a smile on my face, say that in no way is this the end of my time in overseas missions. I have a deep desire and longing to be going into the nations. And who knows where I might end up several years down the road!
So to all of you who have been a part of these last five years with me, I want you to know that I consider you family. It has been such a joy to have so many supportive people stand alongside me. You have been givers of your time, your prayers, and your finances. You also have been givers of your hearts. One of my most favorite things has been the emails and phone calls that I have received from so many of you. You have shared your joys, your pains, your fears, and through that I feel like we became the body of Christ. Lifting one another up in prayer and encouraging one another to keep moving forward.
I can say with confidence that you have made an impact not only in California, but in the nations. You have also been an instrumental part in impacting my life. Each and every one of you has been a part of my journey in discovering the fullness of what God has for me and the fullness of walking in His love and grace. So thank you for being not only willing, but excited, in walking through this season with me. It has blessed me beyond words and I will be forever thankful!
So herein lies a new chapter, one that will be full of many new and exciting adventures! My hope is that we can continue to be an integral part of one another’s lives in the years to come.
If you have any questions or thoughts about my transition, I would love to communicate further with you. Please feel free to email me at email@example.com.
Please be checking my blog for more information in the coming weeks. I will be able to expand and go into more detail on the moving process there.
Thank you so much for each of your hearts and investments in my life!