California // part 1
Wow. The support you guys have given me as I prepare to tackle this new season of life is incredible. Over the past few days I have received numerous texts full of love, support, and precious encouragement. My heart is full. I’m writing this blog post because many of you have asked for updates on my internship with A21 this summer. A21 is a great nonprofit that fights human trafficking around the world. (www.a21.org) I decided to write a bit on how I even got to this point because the testimony of the Lord’s faithfulness is too good not to share.
Heads up, this will be a little lengthy, so scroll to the bottom if you just want to see specific prayer requests. Let’s start at the beginning.
About this time last year, I went on my senior trip to Cincinnati, OH. I’m not going to lie, I was pretty disappointed by the choice of location, but God is pretty cool, and that trip became incredibly pivotal in my journey. Last minute we decided to go the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. We walked in fully expecting to learn about the trans-Atlantic slave trade, but as I began to walk through the exhibits, God yanked at my heart. I had tears streaming down my face as I read stories and saw the faces of victims of human trafficking. I walked through an exhibit that showed a photo journalists perspective on the issue. It was here, that I felt an urge to use photography to fight modern day slavery. This feeling did not disappear.
A few months later I began pursuing a degree in Interior Design from Anderson University in South Carolina. About a month in I was miserable, and felt trapped. I prayed that God would either ignite my passion for Interior Design or make me hate it. I continued in Interior Design trying to tell myself it would be fine and I liked it. But during an overwhelming project I haphazardly decided to apply for A21. My logic when applying was, “Well if I’m going to be trapped in Interior Design the rest of my life, I mine as well do something I’m passionate about now.” But thankfully, the Lord put so many incredible people in my life who encouraged and supported me to change my major from Interior Design to Marketing. As soon as I switched, a wave of relief and peace hit me. I was so grateful to be able to pursue a degree that gives me resources to build a photography business, work with non-profits, as well as studying a subject that intrigues me. The Lord is so good, and after applications, multiple skype interviews, and a lot of prayer I was accepted into A21’s volunteer program. I was so ecstatic. Everything was changing.
Later, over Christmas break I began to realize what I was trying to do. I remember sitting with my dad and asked him, “Am I crazy for trying to raise $4,000 in four months to go move to a state where I don’t know a soul?” He looked back at me and said, “Yes, you are crazy.” I just stared back at him, looking for a little bit more of a “you can do it” response. And then he continued, “But, if the Lord wants you to be there, the money will be there. And if He doesn’t, you would not want to be there anyway.” After that I thought to myself, “Oh, duh. It’s not me, it’s God.”
And that began the crazy four months of me starting a new major, praying constantly, and raising money. The Lord provided all the funds I needed within two months, which is crazy to me. But then in April I got into a car accident, and had to pay a $500 insurance deductible. Devastated, I did the math and I realized I had to pull money out of my A21 funds to cover it. I was stressed, but then I remembered what my dad said and decided that the only way I was going to go was if God showed up and did something crazy. So, I prayed, “Lord, please provide the funds in such a way that people know for a fact it was you and not me.” A few days I received an anonymous $500 check. I was in awe at how God provided in such a sweet way. He even ended up providing free housing after a long apartment search. Everything leading up to this point has been so obviously God’s handiwork.
Looking back over this year and remembering the Lord’s faithfulness brings tears to my eyes. Jesus is up to something, and I’m not entirely sure what it is. But I’m trusting him because his plans are always infinitely better than anything I could hope for. Following Jesus is truly the greatest adventure I could ever experience. I’m excited to keep going as He continually redirects my path in order to sanctify me, and bring himself glory.
If you would love to pray for me you could pray for:
1. Strength in Transition: My body is exhausted from the end of the semester, work, and traveling. I have not had a chance to rest, and I am feeling it. Pray that the Lord’s strength would be magnified in my weakness.
2. Relationships: Pray that the Lord would provide a strong community between the thirteen interns during these next few months. Also, that I would quickly find a church community.
3. A Light Would Be Shinned on Human Trafficking: This issue is relevant, and needs to be talked about. Pray that the Lord would use our efforts to free more slaves, and raise awareness of the problem.
4. Growth: I know that the Lord will grow me and shape me during this time. Pray that my heart would be soft and teachable. Pray that my heart would continually break over modern day slavery.
Or follow them on Instagram at @a21 and @fightthenewdrug to be consistently informed on what is happening. These are great resources for help fight the battle against human trafficking by simply becoming educated as well as starting conversations that bring awareness to the tragedy.
Photo Credit: @ashleyestone