Some people say Christianity is boring. I would counter that if Christianity is boring, you're doing it wrong.
Let me lay out some of my life story. I was pretty content in my small Washington hometown. I never wanted to leave. I figured I'd just stay there forever. When I was around 19, life took a bad turn. I had a major internal crisis and I realized I'd reached the point of having to make some decisions. I had grown up in church, but when the rubber hits the road, what we believe comes to the surface and shows us what is true and what isn't. This was the season of my life that I decided to own my own faith. I decided that Jesus was the only way. Thus began my personal adventure. I'm not going to talk about the spiritual, personal, internal stuff, I'm going to tell you about the external adventures I've had since I started following Jesus.
When I was 25 I moved over to the Seattle area to do a ministry school called Master's Commission. I spent a year with about 20 other young people, learning, serving, and growing in our faith. During that year we worked at Microsoft conventions to help pay for our year. We got the comp rooms from MS in the nicest hotels in town. I got to do this in Anaheim, Dallas, and twice in New Orleans. Pretty cool huh? We got to spend some time at 6 Flags New Orleans for free with hardly anyone in the park, so we didn't have to get off the rides at the end of a cycle.
At the end of our year, we hopped in 4 vans and took off on an amazing 6 week roadtrip around the USA. I believe we touched 39 states on that drive. We were running on very little money, but we still got to see some amazing stuff. My favorite was Niagara Falls, which we had the pleasure of viewing from the Lady of the Mist boat. We were also in Washington DC for the 4th of July, so I watched the fireworks from the front lawn of the Lincoln Memorial. We hiked a land bridge in Kentucky, we visited an aquarium, visited a beautiful waterfall around Ithaca NY, and we drove thru downtown NYC. We saw lots of cool stuff from the road, but these are some of our stops that stand out in my memory.
During that year we also worked as camp counselors at a soccer camp. The man that ran that camp was a great guy, and I connected with his vision. After I graduated, he let us know that he was taking a group to Uganda for a soccer based mission trip. I signed up. After some time it hit me how crazy that idea was. I don't like new things, I don't like being dirty, I don't like strange food, I'm no good with interacting with new people.... the list went on and on. I tried to get out of the trip, but that didn't happen. So I ended up flying across the pond to a whole new world. We ran into London during our layover, so I saw Buckingham Palace and rode the Tube. Uganda was a shock. So unreal. Ended that trip with a safari. I'm sure I don't need to explain how incredible that was! Not just the Savannah, but a boat safari on The Nile River. I didn't totally enjoy the trip, but God had planted a seed that would grow up later.
6 years later I ended up going back again, this time for 6 weeks during the South Africa World Cup. This trip wasn't long enough. I fell in love with the people and the village where we spent most of our time. We did another safari, and on the way back I spent a couple days in London alone. I was able to take the Tube into town and walk all over taking pictures. I even saw the Lion King (broadway version) !!
A couple years after that I was led to move to Redding California. Another crazy adventure. As soon as I got there, I got signed up to go back to Uganda with a team from Bethel church. That trip was quite different, but again one of the most amazing two weeks of my life. I got to take a short day trip back to the village from 2010 with my brother Alex and meet his then 4 mo. old baby Elijah.
2015 I moved further south to Yuba City and quickly quit my long time job at Target. I decided to just chill for a few months and figure stuff out, and ended up cashing out my 401K money and flying to Uganda for 2 and a half months and building a house. This time I lived village style, no western comforts like toilets and running water.
Along the way I've made stops in South Africa, Ethiopia, Canada, Rwanda, and Rome for my flights, no exploring though. All this for a little girl that planned to stay in Wenatchee all her life.
What am I saying? If I hadn't chosen to go where I felt Jesus was leading me, none of this would have happened. I didn't know that I would love traveling the world because I'd never done it. I didn't know that I would end up going to Uganda 4 times and planning to live there. If I'd let my fears stop me back in 2004, where would I be now? What would my life look like?
I write this all as a way of expressing my gratefulness to Jesus for knowing me better than I knew myself and leading me into a life of crazy awesome adventure!