Thinking Back While Looking Forward
This time last year I was in the same place I am today. I was sitting at my desk at the Funeral Home, where I work, and I was daydreaming about Guatemala. Last spring I was preparing for my first summer long missions trip, Emmaus. I had all the essentials: the hiking backpack, the sleeping bag, the hiking shoes and the bucket hat. In my mind I felt prepared and ready, but in my heart I was nervous and unsure how everything was going to go. I had no idea what was going to happen that summer or how I would grow spiritually. I had no idea what I was going to do after the summer or my future plans. But God answered all of my questions and concerns and changed my life.
After getting off the plane in the summer of 2015 in Guatemala I felt energized, a feeling of “fullness” and in a sense, a breath of fresh air, despite the airport not having the cleanest of air. I was just excited to be there and to begin the adventure. This was the first time where I had little control or planning on what was going to happen but for some reason it gave me a huge sense of relaxation and the realization of whatever is going to happen is supposed to happen.
The first week on my missions trip we went to Belize. Have you ever Googled images of Belize? Because I did before I left, and I'm still not 100% certain we were in Belize. I didn't see what Google apparently saw, I didn't see any water, I never saw a beach, or islands. We stayed in a closet sized room with bunk beds that was in the back of a church in a very small town. If I had to describe the area in one word it would be “dusty”.
It was a tough week, you can ask anyone from the team. It was hard manual labor in very hot conditions, and the majority of us became sick. But with all that being said, it wasn't as eye opening as it was heart opening. I’ll never forget the Vacation Bible School with the children or the eye clinic and all the people we helped to see better. I’ll never forget our whole team standing in front of their congregation singing english church songs which they couldn't understand. Our time in Belize was full of ups and downs. As a team, we came together and served. It was full of love, sharing the Gospel and helping the church build onto their property. I knew what I signed up for, I knew we weren't going to stay at any resorts (thanks google images) and I knew this trip wasn't about me. It was about serving and growing spiritually.
I’ll never forget the long drive back to Guatemala City when I scanned the beautiful landscape out of the window and just prayed to God. This was something I felt very amateur at. I’ve always loved God but at times growing up I didn't have as strong of a relationship with Him as I wish I did. Praying wasn’t always something I did on a regular basis. But I tried and I prayed. I prayed for direction in my life, I prayed for my future because I had so many unanswered questions, I prayed for a wife that had a heart for Christ and serving others, I prayed for the remainder of the mission trip and that we would spread His word to others and I prayed that I would follow Him and that our relationship would be
stronger than it has ever been.
I can humbly say that God answered all of those prayers, and changed my life forever.
Last summer in Guatemala I strengthened my relationship with God and fell in the love with the most beautiful, smart, driven, funny, caring and loving person. I knew that God had plans for Kathryn and I to be together forever. On December 12th, 2015 in beautiful Antigua, Guatemala I married the one whom my soul loves.
In life, I believe God has a plan for each and every one of us but he gives us a choice to follow that plan. Everyone must choose to follow or ignore those plans. Everyone has a much different story and different journey, that’s what makes God’s design and plan so masterful. If you choose to follow Christ all of your questions will be answered in his timing and way. If you read His word and follow His plan, you’ll see your own life change and achieve the potential God has given you. What changed in me was the mindset of “I can fix this, I can take care of this, I have the answers” and realizing I don't, only
“He must become greater, I must become less”
As I sit at my desk and look out the window onto Main Street I have found myself in a similar place as last year with uncertainty, at times stress, but also excitement. I have never lived in a developing country, my Spanish is no bueno, and I have never been a full time missionary. But similar to last year, I shouldn't try to plan everything out or expect how things will go. Neither a bucket hat nor a fanny pack will prepare me for what’s ahead. I don't have all the answers but what I do have is the choice to be open to God’s direction that he has for us. I have grown to trust God and know that he has plan for Katy and I.
In the Fall of this year Katy and I will become full time missionaries in Guatemala. We will lead CRI teams and help with administrative duties. We’ll spread His word to the world and show others His love. Additionally, we will pursue a coffee roasting business, Tentmakers Roasting Co. A portion of the proceeds will be donated back towards CRI and other ministries to further their efforts to love God and love people. More information about this will be available in the near future. We’re extremely excited for our future together and know as long as we keep God at the center of our lives, anything is possible.