(*Note: I apologize. This post is long… but I promise you its worth the read!*)
I’m finally back in the wonderful country of France after having been gone for almost a solid 3 weeks. First stop was Stafford, England for the Soul Survivor conference with 6 high school girls… then road tripping through Europe to get to Tapolca, Hungary for the annual Christians Associates “Connect” Conference. I’m back safe and sound, rested and with new clarity about the next steps for me in ministry.
As many of you know, I have been interning with Christian Associates for the past 8 months in Aix en Provence, France. I am now nearing the end of this internship and need to make a decision to stay on staff with this church or to return to the states. I have been fasting and praying about this decision for quite some time now… since June… and hadn’t felt any clarity or peace until this past weekend.
Something in my spirit has been unsettled. I just couldn’t see clearly what the next step was. I would pendulum swing between the choice of staying in France and the returning to the States, but I didn’t want to make a decision until I was at peace with either choice. I’ve been missing theatre a lot… so much so, I feel like I’ve had a hard time breathing at times and try as I might, I haven’t found a theatrical outlet in France. BUT, I have made some wonderful friends here in Provence. I love not only my team and the people of this city, but the other church planters and staff of Christian Associates (CAI) as well. My heart has been pulled between two loves for a couple months now, and I’m exhausted.
At the conference on Thursday, August 11th, I had lunch with an amazing woman named Christine Osgood. She is the Training Team Leader for CAI and a wonderful listener. At one point while we were talking, she looked at me and said, “Joy just oozes out of you when you talk about theatre.” And she’s right, it does. We talked some more and I headed off to my room to pray some more. After the next day, I knew what my decision would be and met with my Team Leader, Dominic on Saturday, August 13th for breakfast. Here is my answer:
I’m moving back to the states. Not only that, but I know where I would like to move to. My best friend Erin and I have been talking and dreaming about living together, incarnationally, within the theatrical community for quite some time. I feel a lot of peace in joining her and that dreamed about mission in… BOSTON.
A couple crazy things happened after I verbalized this:
-I had so much peace about this decision… and clarity of vision.
-On the car ride home from the conference on Sunday August 14th, I plugged my ipod into the stereo, and the first song to come on at random was “Boston” By Augustana… and the lyrics go a little something like this: I think I’ll go to Boston; I think I’ll start a new life; I think I’ll start it over where no one knows my name; Get out of California…”
-THEN, I get home to Aix, and my friend Cassie let’s me know that Reality announced its newest church plant in… guess where?? BOSTON!
-I listen to the sermon from Sunday, August 14th, and guess who else had a confirmation moment with the afore mentioned song?? Al Abdulla, the pastor leading the plant in Boston.
-Essentially, my confirmation of Boston as my next city came on the very same day that the Boston church plant was announced. How cool is that?? Our God is a great God. Our God is a specific God… one who just loves details. And my heart overflows with adoration at the way He weaves together such a beautiful tapestry with so many lives, dreams, desires and gifts.
Here we go! Another new chapter. Another new adventure. Another time when God has totally surprised me… I’m reminded of James 4, verses 13-14, where it says, “Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.’ Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow.
Its true. I have no idea what will happen tomorrow. Something could come along that changes my plans entirely. But for today, I am thankful to have a fresh wind of the Holy Spirit in my sails, friends at my side, and a heading that reads: Boston.