Really, she is all things funny and real. I just love her. I feel like we could just sit down over cups of coffee and share together our life stories and the way God moves and challenges us past anything comfortable, into His own heart. I feel like we could laugh together and cry together, because we share the same heart for His kingdom and His kids.
As I read about her comfortable spaces and the way God began to move and challenge her out of that place, I felt like she was sharing my story. Details different, perhaps, but heart the same.
In 2004, I spent a month serving in Kenya with Adventures in Missions. That trip opened my eyes to the real needs of the world, the real heart of he Lord, and the real love that come with touching and holding and encouraging and speaking into the lives of the "least of these". I prayed that God would bring me back to Kenya, but felt like my answer was "wait".
The summer of 2005, I spent at an internship at Peninsula Covenant Church in the San Fracisco Bay Area. It was an amazing summer creating so many places of freedom and so many life-long friends. God moved and spoke and changed in powerful, healing ways.
And I was invited back on the leadership team of the internship the next summer, 2006. That summer was one of the hardest of my life. And I told God that I never wanted to return to that place, like physically never wanted to return to the Bay. I held so many hurt places because of the hard that was that summer.
Well, don't ever give ultimatums to God. And never say never.
In 2007, the only teaching job I could find brought me right back to the Bay, teaching in a low income community called East Palo Alto. God moved and changed me in that place. And he redeemed the broken places in me that had left me not wanting to ever return. There, He taught me about serving the poor in the States. He taught me about living in the place where I was doing ministry (and my classroom was pure ministry). He taught me about teaching kids with very little family support, or language abilities, or hope.
And through my years at PCC, he taught me about living and serving in a Godly, vulnerable, and passionate community, that cares about the things God cares about.
Through my time there, I began to learn more and more about human trafficking. God led me to Isaiah 61 for years. It became my hearts cry to see the slave freed, those in bondage set free, the widows and orphaned cared for, the sorrow of His people turned to joy and dancing.
And when I felt God calling me to Ghana...I wavered.
I pursued it, but I wondered when and for how long and what God would do with me.
I made every effort to set myself up for the minimum God might require of me, thinking He would just bring me right back to EPA, the place that had moved and captured my heart.
And then came His voice, in January 2010, almost audibly heard...Trust and Obey.
For me, coming to Ghana wasn't an issue of wanting or not wanting, of sacrificing or giving up (at least, not at first).
It was an issue of obedience.
And so, I called John and Stacy about a week before their big move to Ghana (the one where they moved everything, including their three kids, one only 5 months old), and told them one year.
God changed everything after that first step of obedience.
And 4 years later, I am still here. It looks so different than when I first came. Everything is different, really.
But, our God is never changing. And His heart is always...always...wanting the best for us. He holds the bigger vision in His hands. I couldn't have handled it then. But, I can handle the pieces that I can see now.
And so, while the details with Jen's call to the Interrupted life were different, the heart is the same.
She said in her book that God wasn't calling her to more of the same...He was calling her to His true church.
I love that.
His true church is not found in a building. It is found in you and I, using all that we have been gifted with, to love on His people (not just the ones found in our comfort zone, but all His kids). I got to do that in EPA and at PCC, but I love how God has called me to be His hands and feet to these ones here in Ghana.
They have changed me.
Read more from Jen on her blog: www.jenhatmaker.com!