Leave it to me to keep you hanging for nearly one month. My apologies.
I am happy to report that I arrived back in Texas 3 weeks ago, rested and in good spirits, thanks be to God! Due to some flight schedule complications, the Caudle’s and I flew home on separate flights. A delayed flight causing an 8 1/2 hour layover in Honolulu turned out to be a huge blessing. The blessing included: 1) A whole row of seats reserved just for me by the sweet lady at the ticket counter. 2) Free dinner. 3) The first time to be by myself in the past 5 months (I think I understand now why my dad always asked for the same two things every year for Christmas and his birthday: Peace and quiet). 4) I read a book in one sitting. 5) Six uninterrupted hours of sleep (that’s more on one flight than I had on the other 9 flights we took combined). 6) Free lunch. I’m thankful for the Lord’s grace extended to me, even in seemingly little things like these.
I’ve enjoyed every bit of being back home. I was able to see my family and most of my closest friends within the first week. I traveled to Beaumont and Austin the first week I was home, relaxed in Dallas the next week and spent last week in San Angelo visiting my friend Bianca.
I’ve been asked the same question over and over, “What’s next?” Back in November, I approached the Lord with open hands and asked Him that very question. When I left Texas in September, I knew deep down that I wouldn’t be coming back and picking up where I left off, but I wasn’t exactly sure what that meant. In my uncertainty, I did know one thing: My ultimate desire is to know God and to be obedient to His plan for my life. I had a lot of people asking me if I was going to go through a Discipleship Training School (also known as a DTS, and the program the Caudle’s were going through that required them to bring a nanny). I wasn’t sure, but asked the Lord if it was something that I should pursue. At the same time, I started reading the book Radical by David Platt. In the book, he challenges his readers to consider with an open heart how we have manipulated the gospel to fit our cultural preferences. He shows what Jesus actually said about being his disciple–then invites the reader to believe and obey what they have heard. I might have highlighted the entire book, but that’s neither here nor there. Just buy it and read it. At one part in the book, he talks about how often people say, “not everyone is called to foreign missions,” or more specifically, “I am not called to foreign missions.” The Lord used what he said next to open my eyes:
“But where in the Bible is missions ever identified as an optional program in the church?… Indeed, Jesus Himself has not merely called us to go to all nations; he has created us and commanded us to go to all nations. We have taken this command, though, and reduced it to a calling – something that only a few people receive. I find it interesting that we don’t do this with other words from Jesus. We take Jesus’ command in Matthew 28 to make disciples of all nations, and we say, “That means other people.” But we look at Jesus’ command in Matthew 11:28, “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest,” and we say, “Now that means me.” In the process, we have unnecessarily (and unbiblically) drawn a line of distinction, assigning the obligations of Christianity to a few while keeping the privileges of Christianity for us all.”
The Lord used this book and other conversations with friends/family to confirm that a DTS was a step in the right direction. I started looking into YWAM, where their mission and vision is to know God and to make Him known, and the specific DTS programs they offer around the world. I used a few preferences to narrow down my decision, namely, I wanted to go to a larger base where English was the primary spoken language, and I wanted to go to a place I hadn’t been before. I also remembered that after my trip to Europe last year, we decided we wanted to travel to Australia the following year. I found a YWAM base in Perth, Australia offering a Sports DTS. I started applying and have one more piece of documentation I need to turn in in order to complete my application and transition my application to the review stage. As soon as I find out if I have been accepted, which will hopefully be within the next few weeks, I will start working on my visa, purging my storage unit and raising support. Praise God that He is in the details, and that as I make my plans, He directs my steps!