541-870-3796 I am struck by the incredible picture of surrender in Matthew 4:20: “At once they left their nets and followed Him.” This year, God has been teaching me to surrender – and to love. Last January, my dream was to attend a top-notch, private Christian university for all four years. But, as I soon learned, that wasn’t God’s plan for me. As He closed each door, He began to show me that He had very different plans for my life. Although it was hard, at first, letting go of that dream, I was about to be led on an incredible adventure I could never have anticipated.
A few months later, I found myself registering for classes at Lane Community College, literally the last place on earth I wanted to go – my own Nineveh. LCC is one of the largest community colleges in Oregon, and notoriously one of the most liberal, anti-Christian colleges in the nation. So you can imagine that I felt like a fish out of water. Full of doubts and questions, I couldn’t understand why I had been called to surrender my big university ambitions to attend a spiritually dark community college. One day, reading through the book of Ezekiel, God spoke to me: “The people to whom I am sending you are obstinate and stubborn…” (Ez. 2:4) “…they have eyes to see but do not see, and ears to hear but do not hear.” Confused, I asked, “Then God, WHY am I here? Why have you placed me in this dark place to shine Your light if no one sees it? And why am I speaking if no one is listening? These people hate Your truth.” And God answered: “Do not be afraidof them or their words. Do not be afraid, though briers and thorns are all around you and you live among scorpions. Do not be afraid of what they say or be terrified by them, though they are a rebellious people. You must speak my words to them, whether they listen or fail to listen.”(Ez. 2:6-7) So there was my mission: to speak the truth of His Love, no matter what might happen. A few chapters later, I was stunned by Ezekiel’s response to God: “So I did as I was commanded.” (Ez. 12:7) No questions. No hesitation. He just acted on a heartbeat of obedience, leaving the familiar path to follow God. From that moment onward, I knew that where God had placed me was exactly where He wanted me to be.
During the season of life that I was at Lane Community College, countless lives were changed, not least of which was my own. Answering the call God had placed upon my life to make a difference for Him on campus, I started a pro-life college club and joined the school’s Council—the student leadership of LCC. I was the only Christian or even remotely conservative member of the Council. The spiritual darkness in that place was like a tangible and suffocating presence. I faced unprecedented opposition. Yet in just a few short months, I began to witness miracles. Surprisingly, the hearts of many classmates and council members were changed. Staunch pro-abortion advocates became passionately pro-life. Lives were saved – most memorably, on the 40th anniversary of Roe vs. Wade, a tiny baby girl and her mother were saved from a scheduled abortion. In my classes, I had the opportunity to share the truth in love about numerous issues including abortion, abstinence, our nation’s Christian heritage, and human trafficking, to name a few. Greatest of all, God opened doors for me to share the gospel of His Love with classmates who asked why I was “different”. Through the fall and winter terms, I spent most of my time ministering to completely broken people: radical atheists, doubtful agnostics, sex trafficking survivors, young unmarried women in crisis pregnancies, homosexuals, drug addicts, desperately lost college students. Paradoxically, I found that when I minister to the broken, I find wholeness; when I pour myself out, I am filled.
I will never be the same. Slowly, I’m learning to surrender, to bloom where He plants me, to trust in His plan. For a few years now, I’ve had a burning desire to be a missionary, to pour out my life for the poor and needy around the globe. But “missions” is not just what happens when you step off a plane in another country. Life is a missions trip – all of it. I’ve learned to view life for what it is: the one short time I have to accomplish what I was put on this earth to accomplish. I am on a mission to live for Christ and show His love to others every moment of every day. “I have but one passion – it is He, it is He alone. The world is the field and the field is the world; and henceforth that country shall be my home where I can be most used in winning souls for Christ.” —Count Nicolaus von Zinzendorf
During my short but full season of life at LCC, where I had the opportunity to minister God’s love to the people around me, I came to realize that love matters most. To love God and the people He created – what else in this life is truly worthwhile? I want everyone to know the joy, the love, the life that I have found in Christ; my desire is to preach the Love of Jesus through the way I live my life, sharing His matchless grace and all-consuming love with those I encounter. Everyone is destined to spend eternity in either one place or the other. “Multitudes, multitudes, in the valley of decision!” (Joel 3:14) Everyone must make an eternal choice – and many have not yet made the decision to follow Christ. Who will tell them? Let our response be: “Here I am, LORD, send me.” (Isaiah 6:8)