It was past midnight that Thursday. I took a shower, everything was ready. My luggage was all packed, my backpack and my portfolio were ready as well. I gave a last scan to my room, my things, my books, it was with nostalgia that in silence I kissed goodbye to my room. It was not the first time that I traveled due to ministry engagements, yet, this time was different. There was something special about this time. I hugged and kissed my cats who stared at me as if they knew something out of normal was going on. The air was filled with expectation, excitement, and a sense that something great was about to be unleashed in the following weeks.
It was a long trip. One piece of luggage, one backpack, and one portfolios was all I had with me when I stepped out of the house into the cool air. A sense of expectation filled my spirit as I arrived to the airport, I was (and still am) expectant to see what God will do, what he will say, what he will show, and how will he use me in this new adventure. As I walked through the duty free shops, I was thinking that this was the first time was walking into the unknown, I was going to a Church I’ve never heard about, there was some fear inside of me; what if the whole thing was a scheme? What if no one showed up at the airport? When I first moved to Dallas I certainly was fearless, I recall being filled with excitement, happiness, and had a huge amount of confidence. I had no place to live, knew no one whatsoever, thus far God graciously provided me with a car, I was enrolled in Seminary, in a sense there was some sort of confidence on what I was about to embrace.
During my first flight, towards Houston, I asked God what was it that he had in store for me, what he wanted from me, why was it that he was taking me to this place and Church I knew nothing about. A couple of days before my departure I had a conversation with a good friend from Seminary. Daniel challenged me to pursue seeking God, he also challenged me to relocate myself back to Dallas and finish my residency. Yet in the midst of our conversation he said something that really made me thought, he said something like this: “It is awesome that you have this opportunity to serve God for ten weeks, yet I’d urge you to use this time to seek the Lord and simply tell him that you’re open to whatever, that you’re open to go wherever he leads you, that you’re willing to simply serve him. Take that leap of faith, it’s not easy, but once you’ve taken it, he will surely surprise you.” I landed in Houston with enough time to catch my next plane and eat lunch, yet it took me more than an hour and a half to go through migration. I passed all security checkpoints fearing I will not be able to get on that plane. I just had 45min left to catch my flight to New Orleans.
The flight Houston-New Orleans was different. I couldn’t stop telling God: “Oaky, so here I am. Work out your perfect will in me.” For some reason I wasn’t able to take the image of Jesus praying in the garden out of my mind. “Not my will but yours be done” constantly came into my mind and they deeply resounded in my soul. Finally, I landed in New Orleans… and its humidity welcomed me. There was no one waiting for me. After 15min and tons of mini prays asking God not to be left on my own, Dan showed up. Officially the adventure had started.
God had heard my prayers and he was on the move. After 15+ hrs. of traveling I finally got to the place where I will be living for the rest of the summer and asked for the internet password just to be blown away by the answer…. they had no internet. All I wanted after a long trip was taking a shower, and do some Netflix. This really was a challenge. I was to meet the rest of the interns on Saturday, which I did, and it felt awkward. I had the feeling that they were not comfortable with my presence.
We went to the picnic the Church was throwing away for Memorial Day. Afterwards we all got on a van (Phill Collins) and head to Florida. All I could think of was, that I was in a van stocked with five completely strangers who speak a different language, suddenly the fear of having to speak in English and them laughing at me hit me. I was scared. That, plus the fact that we were asked to leave our phones and electronics; and simply bring with us a journal, pen, and Bible. At that moment I know that the challenge was about to start.