Hitting the ground running

The first 12 days in Uganda have been a whirlwind of experiences and emotions. Already I have had the opportunity to preach at church (twice!) while going around town talking to people about God with the rest of my team during the week. There is definitely a huge difference in preaching the Gospel in Africa - the people here are way more receptive - but I'm just looking at this an opportunity to develop my confidence and grow in boldness.

One of my goals going into Africa was to let go of my self reliance and learn to put my trust completely in the Lord. That was put to the test two days ago when I was diagnosed with Malaria (I'm feeling much better now though, don't worry!). When you're lying in bed with a 103 degree fever and throwing up anything you put in your body, all thoughts of pride and self-sufficiency tend to automatically go out the window.

In a weird way, as miserable as being sick was, I'm glad it happened. I honestly believe that God was using the experience to break me down before building me back up into a man of stronger faith. In many ways, I am encouraged by Romans 8:28 - "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose."

I'm missing home and everyone like crazy right now (I could use a 100 plus out here in the African heat) but I continue to remind myself that God has a purpose for me being here and that I have to do my best to stay receptive to His will for me.

Thank you guys for your continued support and prayers - It means the world to me and I will continue to keep all of you in the loop!


Feels like family

The past three days in Georgia have been spent growing closer to the Lord and getting ready to spread His word in Africa with the amazing group of people who will be my family over the next 4 months. Training camp has been an intense, albeit, incredible experience and AIM has done a fantastic job in cultivating a community of believers who encourage and lift each other up in Christ. I feel like I have already made tremendous strides in my walk with the Lord and we haven't even left the country yet. We'll be leaving for Uganda tomorrow and prayers for safety would be much appreciated. I'm so ready for the Lord to use me and to bring hope to areas that desperately need it! Pictures and more updates to come - Stay tuned.


Role models, and building for eternity

One of my role models: Brad, thank you for showing me what it means to love Christ and others. You lead by example.

"You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden." – Matthew 5:14

We have the ability to influence others through the way we live our lives. Something that I have come to understand over the last few years is that we all have different stories to share - life experiences that can make a positive difference and bless the lives of others.

In high school, I was fortunate enough to encounter a few remarkable individuals who would profoundly impact the way I view life and the Christian faith today. While they certainly had their unique differences, a common trait they all shared was their capacity to genuinely live out the gospel and to empathize with others. I remember thinking that I wanted to live like that, and it’s no coincidence that I started making strides in my own walk with Christ shortly after having been around them.

I believe that God is challenging you and I to change the world. And to accomplish this, He asks us to look daily into our own little spheres of influence and figure out how we can best “let our light shine before others.” It’s a process that takes tremendous patience but if we keep the faith and continue to do things the right way, God WILL use us to transform the lives of others.

As I sit here, a couple of hours away from getting on a plane to spread the Word, there is no doubt in my mind that none of this would even be happening if it were not for those few special people God chose to place along my path. It’s because of them that I find myself with a renewed passion to invest in the lives of those around me and in things that will last for eternity. I simply pray that God will afford me opportunities in the coming months to touch others and lift them up through His Word – for Christ and His Kingdom.


Staying was the right call

YoungLife Christmas Club: Celebrating the birth of our Savior with some of my favorite kids

Although I could not have envisioned such a strange ending to my time in Singapore, I firmly believe I made the right decision to take the year off and come back to SAS instead of going to Wheaton right away.

I'm a better person today than I was six months ago. The lessons that I take with me from the past six months – virtues like humility, patience, and the ability to tolerate disappointment – will undoubtedly be with me for the rest of my life.

In that sense, along with a host of other intangible qualities that were either acquired or reacquired on the journey (confidence comes to mind), the extra year gives me a head start into what I am assured will be a fantastic college experience.

Having the opportunity to be around and learn from an amazing group of teachers and kids on a daily basis has made the semester a memorable one. That’s not to say I enjoyed every moment, because I didn’t, but I would never regret the decision, nor would I trade it for any other experience.

Now is the right time to move on. While I definitely still have some growing up to do, I don’t think there is much more to learn from staying another half year at SAS. I’ve always believed that the two highest priorities one can have are serving God and loving other people. By spending the next 4 months in Africa as a missionary, I’ll be placing myself in a distraction free environment where I will get to focus on the things that truly matter. In the words of Paul the Apostle (and very much in the spirit of the new year), it is time to “forget what is behind and strain toward what is ahead.”

To my blog subscribers/prayer team: Thank you so much for agreeing to follow me on this incredible adventure. I promise to do my utmost in remaining as forthcoming and candid as I possibly can while providing all of you with frequent updates and any prayer requests that I may have!

God Bless,