I’m writing a day early because I’m usually a day late. So in my high “J-ness” I thought I’d get a jump start on tomorrow. Today I left a meeting place with a community I’ve been a part of for the past nine years. When I say, “left” I don’t necessarily mean that it’s a cutting off but there is a closure to what this part of my life has been. I’ve been in a missionary organization for the past 15 years and today was my announcement that, as of the end of March, I won’t be working/volunteering with them during this season of my life.
This has been a two year process for Matt and I in terms of moving in a new direction. We both have a passion to impact the world but Matt is not a typical missionary type who goes to other countries to ‘bring people the good news’ so this hasn’t always been a good fit for him. For me it’s been a difficult fit the past four years, since having kids. The time factor has been a deciding element but the tension is also that Matt and I want to impact the world but we really want to do it in the ‘real’ world with devices like technology, law, justice, and engaging with those who will never enter the church. So this decision to move on has been based on a new path that we are finding but this path has been hazy and unclear. There is no one who has put their print in the ground before us and made the way clear. So in a sense we are forming a new path and this is a bit daunting. What if we get lost or don’t know where to go next? This is the age old fear: the unknown!
At times our years in Madison have been painful and discouraging as we’re working out who we are and what is going on with us. It’s not always been rewarding or encouraging; it’s sometimes been lonely and frustrating. Today I spoke about my decision to a group of people, most of whom I have known for the past nine years, some a bit less. I wasn’t sure how the day would end up. Would I break down and cry? Would I even know what to say since things still aren’t clear? Would I just get nervous and end up stage diving into the crowd for no apparent reason? The last one I was pretty certain was not going to happen but you never know what you’ll do under pressure. It’s like when you are asked to share in front of people and you have these bizarre thoughts of taking all of your clothes off in front of them just because you’re nervous. Maybe that’s just me…..
I drove home with my kids as the sun was setting, remember the meeting with my friends. I felt so grateful to have been a part of this mission for 15 years and a part of this community for the past nine. The encouragement was clear that my presence mattered here and that it had some effect in the lives of people. It’s easy to feel forgotten when no one comes around anymore. I think my jokes in between encouraging speeches kept me from getting emotional. It was genuine and not just nerves. I really had a good time. I finished well, and Warren didn’t have to give me his shirt! I even got cake and a pot of tulips.
I came into YWAM at age 19, I’m now 34. I was a new Christian from a crazy home and my DTS was foundational in my formation. I am so grateful to have done that type of school so early into my faith. The 15 years of work have been stricken with poverty yet I’ve seen more of the world than most of the rich and powerful. I have felt lonely at times yet I’ve acquired friendships with some of the most amazing people that were ever created. My worldview has been shaped by Americans as well as Western Europeans, East Africans, Indians, Kiwis, Koreans, Chinese, and women….not just men. What a life! What an amazing 15 years for me!!!!
For my years in Youth With A Mission…. I am thankful
1994 DTS in Maui- foundational
1995 trip to Juarez after a year of wanting to be in YWAM again
1996 working here and there with YWAM teams
1997 Hallelujah! I get to go back to YWAM full time. Kona here I come. SOW. Outreach to China, Philippines, Macao and Hong Kong.
1998- Staff DTS in Kona. Outreach to Korea
1998-1999 move to Colorado and meet some of the raddest staff (Dan, Misha, Randy, Svea, Tav) Staff DTS, lead team to Amsterdam and Germany, Pioneer The Network School, staff Mission Adventures. First time teaching in DTS in Maui and Honolulu
1999 move to the UK to work with The Factory. Invaluable friendships (Katie, Tre, Trent, Vero, Philip, Marie…..the list goes on) Met Matt! The Gathering in Hungary, awesome outreach to Finland, get to go to NYC for the first time. Teach with Philip somewhere….
2000 move to Madison, WI to do the SOTB.
2001 Staff SOTB Outreach to Norway, begin teaching in DTS in Honolulu, Colorado and BC
2003 Connexity conference in Malaysia. Staff SOTB, Matt and Tracie fall in love, outreach to Kenya
2003 Married- pregnant, staffing DTS!
2004 HAS in South Africa (Life changing, never the same)
2006 Staff Access, outreach to Jamaica with two kids
2008 work with BSN (Bible School for the Nations)