Some of you may have read my previous blog, “The Three Little Pigs“, in which I retold the classic fable through the eyes of 1 Corinthians 3:10-15. To sum it up for you, I stated that as Christians, our lives are built on the foundation of our salvation through Jesus Christ. Now it is up to us to decide what kind of lives we build on those foundations. We can build careless lives of straw, semi-committed lives of wood, or glorifying lives of gold. Regardless of how we choose to build these lives, we will retain the foundation of salvation; but we will be rewarded/judged after this life based on what we build on that salvation.
I definitely cant say that my life up till now has been a glorifying life of gold – in fact it has been a relatively worthless life of straw for far too long. For nearly a decade, I found myself pursuing my dreams and my goals, seeking temporary pleasure to replace permanent joy, and stepping on other people to achieve these things. Looking back on my life, I see how awful I acted and how it negatively impacted others’ lives; so now I find myself trying to become Rumpelstiltskin, if you’ll allow me to use another fairytale reference.
Recall the story of Rumpelstiltskin. This guy had a knack for doing something pretty useful – he could turn straw into gold. Now that I am turning my life around and getting back on track with God, I find myself attempting to do just this. I’m trying to turn that house of straw that I have built on my salvation into a house of gold. Doing this is proving to be just about as difficult as actually threading straw into gold.
Some of you may remember a blog of mine from a few months ago in which I introduced “Some BIG News” in my life. Well that big news has been consuming my day time, night time, and sleep time all throughout this wonderful summer. To summarize, I spoke about a great opportunity that God has presented to me which has been in the making for over half a year now. This opportunity is a program called Journey Corps under an organization called WorldVenture.
WorldVenture is an organization that has been around for about 70 years now; and they now have over 500 missionaries located in 70 different countries across the globe. This program that I am in will be sending me to the country Côte d’Ivoire (that’s Ivory Coast, in English) in West Africa where I will stay for at least a year. I will be working under the leadership of the church in and around the area of Bouaké (the church is called AEBECI) and missionaries, Rod and Angelika Ragsdale, to minister to the people of the region in the ways God has called me. If you want to know more about this ministry, you can ask me or check out my ministry webpage.
About two years ago, when I started turning my life around after many years of being apathetic about my faith, I opened up Romans at the suggestion of a good friend of mine. It didn’t take me very long to be completely overwhelmed; and as a result, I started this blog.
I remember to this day reading the words of Romans 5:7-8:
“Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person, someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates His love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
This absolutely blew my mind. Paul informs us of the common knowledge that people don’t normally die for other people (military included, this is a rare occurrence). The idea that God, Who is infinitely greater than mankind, loved us so incredibly much that He became mortal and took all of our miserable sin upon His shoulders just so He could die an excruciating death was too much for me, though. Immediately, I was overcome with the incredible sense of His love, mercy, grace, and joy all at once. Then over the next few days and weeks, I realized that I could not keep this joy and love to myself – I had to share it. So I started this blog, and since then God has been growing in me the desire to share His word with anyone He has cross my path.
This has led to arguments and frustration as I hone my witnessing skills, but I am thankful to God that He is quickly breaking down my walls of self-consciousness and giving me courage to share my faith. Now I find myself on the brink of such an exciting opportunity.
Only 46 more days and I will be on a plane out of Denver toward Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. There I will have so many opportunities to not only be a witness of the gospel to people by my words, but also to work alongside of them and witness to them by my actions. My hope is that I will find opportunities to put my passion for carpentry and manual labor to work along with possibly teaching science and mathematics. However, I know that God has a great plan in all of this and I am even more excited to just follow whatever that plan may be.
So What Now?
There are only a few things left to do before I can leave at the end of August. Some of these things I can only do myself, like travel paperwork and vaccines (apparently I have an allergic reaction to the Yellow Fever vaccine – wish I had known that BEFORE I had it injected into my body intravenously). But there are other things that I could use help with. For instance, I am unofficially at about 80% when it comes to my funding for this ministry. I just need another 20% (about $4900 of one-time gifts and monthly commitments) in order to leave on the 2nd of September. If you would like to be a financial part of this ministry, you can either contact me or make donations/commitments online at my website.
I have also begun a monthly newsletter concerning this ministry which I send out via email to everyone who wants to receive it. If you would like to receive this newsletter, just let me know and I will add your email address to my list. This newsletter will include monthly prayer requests that I would ask you to consider taking before God in an effort to strengthen the ministry in Bouaké. I refer to Ecclesiastes 4:12 in this matter:
“Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”
The more people who go before God in support of this ministry, the stronger it will be; and I will need partners like you standing beside me. I know even now that this will not be an easy mission, and in order for me to experience all that God has prepared for me, I will have to go outside of my comfort zone, overcome opposition, and put my selfish nature far behind me. I need many people interceding on my behalf to keep me and my ministry strong.
Please feel free to contact me either through a comment here or through one of the various options you can find under the Contact Me tab at the top of this page. I’d love to answer any questions or concerns you may have. I pray that you are well, and that God will bless you today in a way that astounds you, wherever and whenever you are.