Hi lovely friends and family! I am so thankful you are visiting this page. This story feels like it's been building for a long time, and I'm overjoyed to share it with you.
About 5 years ago I began actively engaging in anti-trafficking and anti-slavery work in Orlando. My heart had been moved to cry out for the voiceless in my city. Their desperation and the ongoing violence of exploitation broke my heart - they weren't just victims to me, but mothers, sisters, daughters, fathers, sons and brothers. As I grew in my exposure to the work, my heart for desperate people grew too, leading me to look toward international aid. So, I joined International Justice Mission's team, telling stories of their rescues and restoration, connecting others to helping support them and the precious people they help across the world.
But my heart still longed to actually be WITH those who were hurting. My hunger to be on the ground, wrapping arms around them, felt insatiable. And I couldn't imagine anything less. But I had no idea where to go.
Tossing up a nonchalant prayer about it, I wondered if God had somewhere specific in mind for this desire to be lived out. A vacation to Europe this summer brought the pieces together. I expected a joyous, restful time of sightseeing, but I returned with much more. I carried a great weight with me back to the USA - the sobering realities of the refugee crisis and the trafficking happening inside of it.
I hadn't even left Europe before feeling like God was inviting me to step into action. My first thought was, "How in the world can I do anything?" But God interrupted my worrying - He pointed to the path He's led me down so far: One with a very obvious build toward international, humanitarian work. One with a degree in European history and law. One with experience in communication, deep community development and embracing the Church's role in the world.
He asked me very clearly, "Will you really sit back and wait? Come with me into this! History is happening. I am asking my people to act. I'm inviting YOU to act."
And there's no way I could ignore His invitation. His call is very distinct and I believe it's for the greater Church as well. Do you hear it? Will you step into everything this holds for us?
Even while still overseas, I began reading about others who had acted in faith, stepping into crisis as an extension of the Church. Working at IJM had exposed me to many of these leaders - MLK, Mother Theresa, Nelson Mandela, Bonhoeffer. The desire in me for true, compassionate justice, felt like an echo of theirs, and ultimately, of our Kind Father's.
When I got home from my trip, my heart led me toward some curious things - a desire to actively know God more deeply, a familiar ache to help refugees and trafficking victims, and a new, almost consuming, love for the French/the dormant French church.
A very specific organization came to mind after praying about it all: Youth With A Mission (YWAM). So, I started sending some emails asking for information.
Within a week, 2 bases in France had contacted me - both working in the 3 areas my heart felt drawn towards. And my heart started beating pretty fast, realizing that God had aligned my heart with the need over the past year, even before the need had fully existed.The passion He put in me was not random. He was shaping me just for this kind of opportunity - a crazy dream, He was excited to fulfill and walk in with me!
This is why, on January 3, 2016 I will be heading to Biarritz, France to begin a 6 month missions program with Youth with a Mission (YWAM). The program consists of a two-part DTS (Discipleship Training School) that will prepare me for long-term work on the mission field, specifically in the current refugee crisis. The first three months include intensive theology and aid training, where my team and I will be equipped in knowing God deeply, spiritual formation, building community, and learning humanitarian aid skills to help bring the Gospel message in a most holistic way.
The following three months are called the “outreach phase” - taking what’s been learned in the classroom and putting it into action. This particular outreach is backpacking focused, which means we’ll be traveling throughout Greater Europe to 3-4 major cities alongside refugees, particpate in relief efforts with local non-profits, and spread the Gospel with care, alongside other YWAM teams.
Embracing the nomadic spirit of backpacking, we’ll be staying in hostels, on church floors, camping or anywhere else God may put us throughout the outreach phase. This is in effort to reach the millions of people who are migrating, traveling through Europe as refugees, or simply backpacking for pleasure throughout the continent. Our intention is to meet them where they’re at and share the love of Jesus. Whether it be feeding them dinner, or just listening to them share their life, we intend to bring hope to those lost places, and share the raw gospel that is Jesus - through word and deed.
I do need to raise $11,000 for the airfare, lodging and training. These funds will also be used for outreach on the ground. You can easily give through this page, or by bringing/sending me a check over the next few months.
The most important need though, is prayer. Pray for the refugees, pray for the global church to act, pray for softened hearts, moves of God and giant miracles all around.DEADLINES:
$3500- TOTAL Due 10/02/2015
$7,500- TOTAL Due 11/2/2014
$11,000- TOTAL Due 12/11/2014 (Shameless plug: I'll accept donations in lieu of CHRISTMAS presents!)
If you are able to support me financially, here are some options: ONLINE
- Click the donate button on this page! **Note: With online support, there is a processing fee for the convenience. To not have that fee you can send me....A CHECK!
The best way to donate is by ending a check directly to me. Message me for the best address :)
Please join me in praying that all the finances come through and I ask for continued prayer support throughout my journey. If you would like to receive updates on the things happening during my DTS, follow me on social media! You can also e-mail me, if you'd prefer to receive updates through e-mail.
If you would like more information about YWAM as an organization, their web-site is www.ywam.org
. The web-site for the specific DTS that I am doing is http://ywambiarritz.com/
Please contact me by email or phone if you have any questions - I love talking about this and would love to share more with you!