If you had asked me where I would be in my life just two years ago, my answer would have been completely different. Two years ago I was a Freshman at North Dakota State University studying Mechanical Engineering. During my time there I met some incredible people, competed in Track and Cross Country for the best university in the Midwest, and grew myself spiritually with Christians from around campus that built me up in ways I never thought could happen.
But God certainly has his own idea of what our lives are going to be like, and mine is no different. You see, despite all these amazing opportunities I found myself in, I still felt lost. I still felt like something was missing, and when tough classes became tougher, being away from family became a larger pill to swallow and relationships still dwindling, that hope seemed farther and farther away.
Every Tuesday there was a group on campus that met at the Indoor track at NDSU called Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA for short). This was the group that helped grow me spiritually, and it was one Tuesday in February where everything started to make sense. Brent had invited a missionary from Nepal to come and join our group that evening and share what he was doing over there. He adopted kids, started a school, and helped families where he could. His mission was so simple, yet so powerful. The meeting was winding down and a question was asked.
"So, do you think you'd ever come back to the States?"
His reply is something I'll never forget.
"You know, I don't think so. I think that there is still so much to do over there that I couldn't bring myself to leave. There are still so many people over there that need help, and for me to leave would be leaving them behind. "
There is still so much to do. Even on the mountainsides of Nepal there is still ministry that needed to be done. He had been there for years yet still felt that there was something that he could contribute to those people. I couldn't get that out of my head. I kept thinking to myself that "His job is so cool. He is literally like the Apostles that we read about in the Bible. He is living the dream."
Soon after this Tuesday, things started changing in my life. My focused was being shifted from the things I thought that I loved to things I hadn't considered before. I was beginning to read my Bible more than I thought, and every bad situation that I was finding myself in, the answer was resolved in the page that I opened too. If I read a verse in my Bible the previous night, the next day it would be texted to me on my phone either from Brent or from another friend. Everywhere I looked, something that related to what I was reading and exploring and digging into more about Christ was appearing before me. And the picture started becoming a little more clear.
Some might call it a crazy series of coincidences, but I'm convinced that the Holy Spirit was working in me that I'd never felt before, and it all came to a culmination the Monday after Easter. I had been welcomed into the home of my Pastor after the service that Sunday since it was not a long enough break for me to make it home. I laughed and talked and enjoyed the resurrection of our King with members of my church there. That message is hard to keep to yourself, and talking about it is something you can't bottle up. I was scrolling through Facebook the next morning and a video of a choir popped up on my feed. It was from the Martin Luther College Choir, a song called "I Will Rise".
I clicked on the link. I listened to the lyrics. I started to cry.
"And I will rise when he calls my name, no more sorrow, no more pain.
I will rise on Eagles Wings, before my God, fall on my knees, and rise."
All I could hear when I heard those lyrics was God calling me, saying to me, "Come here, Ben." He called my name. He chose me, despite my faults, my stubbornness, my ego, my lies, everything that I have done to show that I don't love God, he saw me, created me, and decided that I was perfect and that he could use me to further his message here on Earth. He decided that no matter the situation I was going through, that I was in the perfect place to proclaim his gospel, and that he didn't think I would suffer through it, but become stronger because of it and empower others too. He rose me from the dead, because his Son rose from the dead for me.
And I couldn't take it any longer. Soon after I was on my way to that college that posted the video to start my training to become a Pastor. And God willing I will be able to share this message with those who still need it and those who don't want to be left behind. I want to be like the Apostles that we read about in the New Testament. I want to proclaim Christ to anyone who will listen.
And this is where the Immersion Trip comes in. Martin Luther College offers a tremendous Spanish program that gives students like myself to immerse themselves in a culture that isn't there own for 1 month and speak only that cultures language to learn as much about the language as possible. The hope is that they will become stronger and more confident in that language and be able to use that knowledge in their ministry. I want to be able use Spanish in my ministry to talk to those who can't hear, to those who can't understand the Scriptures because they can't comprehend the Bible because it isn't in their tongue. I want to be able to talk to those who aren't like me and to help them in their journey to Christ. The harvest doesn't contain one crop, but many, and bringing in a wide variety makes the Feast that much greater.
However, there is a cost to this trip, and with your help I will be able to attend this unique and awesome experience to enhance my Spanish speaking and writing abilities. For Christ did say, "Por tanto, vayan, y hagan discípulos de todas las nacciones, bautizándolos en el nombre del Padre y del Hijo y del Espíritu Santo."
Thank you for your consideration in donating. And above all, thanks be to God for these opportunities.
Vamos a Argentina!