I remember being 16 and asking myself, “What am I doing with my life?”. I knew there had to be more to life than what I was presently doing and how I was living. That’s when I gave my whole life to God. I’ve shared my story on Sin Fronteras before, about how I grew up in faith, but at age 16, I reached out for that “more” that God had for me.
A few months ago, I preached a message where I shared of the many things I wanted to be growing up. I’ve always been a dreamer. I’ve dreamed of becoming a school teacher, an immigration lawyer, and someday maybe even starting my own non-profit to aid immigrants and spread awareness of their stories. All this has been through the influence of growing up in an undocumented home myself.
When I was 17, God began to redirect me to share of a greater hope than that of the temporary, and shifted my focus on the eternal. I set off on a 6 year journey to discover what this calling actually meant. Eventually, I was led to places I never imagined visiting including, parts of Asia, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, the Middle East and even living in the U.K. With powerful influences in my life and a genuine heart to serve in the kingdom of God, I somehow ended up in a place in ministry I had no clue I could ever be in. Somehow, I found myself quickly involved in ministry and walking towards my God dreams and ministerial calling. I never consciously made the decision to let go of some of my previous dreams, but just simply chose to follow God wherever He would choose to lead me.
At age 22, I moved to a new city, in my fairly new country, and set off on a journey to - church plant. Yes, you read that correctly, and trust me I still cringe a little when I say it, because I never saw myself becoming a preacher, a pastor, or a minister. Yet, here I am. God sure does take you on some incredible journeys. Just 8 years ago, I didn’t even know if I truly believed in God, and now everything in my life revolves around God and His purpose for my life.
I recently I shared about my milestone of surviving my first year in my Fair City. I think it's now time to share of the life defining moments just before and after this year-long milestone.
At first, I struggled adjusting to life “alone” here, because God literally provided for me to quickly return to this country in such a miraculous way. He gave me my visa, my finances, a place to live and amazing friendships in my new city. I was only missing one thing, a team. Eventually, help came, and maybe I didn't get an on the ground team for all 12 months, but I can now see that God had provided all the right people for every season of the journey. I had a community of people that believed in me both locally and abroad. They believed in what God had called me to do more than I could possibly imagine. This seemed to be a blessing and a curse all at once. The world was watching and I found myself with the pressure of producing “results”. Results I could never truly bring because it wasn’t my job to give them. My job wasn't to grow something, it was to plant. Those that have loved and supported me probably already knew that, but I had to learn it, truly learn it.
I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. 1 Corinthians 3:6 KJV
So a few months ago I found myself asking the same question as I did 8 years ago, “What am I doing with my life?”.
While it seemed like I was doing everything right, something was still missing. It wasn’t the results, or lack thereof. It wasn't that I was feeling unfulfilled. It was that at some point, I had stepped outside of the will of God. There, I said it. While I found myself involved in everything I possibly could be, I had somehow, somewhere, not factored in the will of God for my life.
So I began asking myself the tough questions. The will of God isn't always a "where" question, but a "what" question instead. I knew I was where I needed to be, but found myself questioning my everyday actions that made up my "what". So I asked myself, "What did God actually call me to do?". I knew this answer, He had called me to continue the work he started in Perth and in me.
So what was this work exactly? For Perth, it meant having a oneness apostolic presence that could later organically result in a oneness apostolic church for that city and surrounding areas, a body of believers that would truly live out what it means to be "The Church”. For me, it was to learn what being The Church actually meant. God gave me a vision and for the last year and a half He’s been teaching me what that vision is to look like. I thought I had to start a nice church with nicely converted saints to fulfil my mission here. Turns out, I just had to be the Church, that’s it. Because when we can learn to BE the Church, the Church grows.
Travelling to 6 different countries this summer, stumbling upon refugee awareness meetings, hearing and seeing powerful stories documented through the skills of other passionate creatives, and meeting the refugee and immigrant communities in my own area has taught me that sometimes we forget about our dreams but God still remembers them. Sometimes we think we have to trade them in, but God says “See how I’ll work it out in the end”.
I thought being in Perth meant sacrificing my dreams of helping immigrant communities to share His message. I thought it meant letting my family down of pursuing a "better career” by pursuing ministry instead. I thought it meant not helping the people I love the most to help those I didn’t even know. But since moving to Perth, I’ve actually learned about helping immigrant communities I never even knew existed before. I learned I don’t actually have to pursue a career, but I can continue on a path towards more education, because a love for education is something that will never leave me. I learned that I can help those near and far, both the ones I already love and the ones I have yet to meet, but somehow love anyway. I realised that being the Church means to endlessly love others, to serve, to grow, and not just know truth but live it and share it in LOVE.
So, how have my actions changed since coming to this realisation? I’ve simply made a decision to BE the Church in everything I do. This may mean I spend 90% of my time outside of a "church building”. This may mean that my version of "church” doesn’t look like yours. This may also mean I spend time investing in and doing life with those that aren’t like me, and that my friends is the point.
“So, what am I doing with my life?”
"I’m doing everything I can to be The Church."
In one small nation, I've learned to connect with the world. I love doing life with these people. They make me a better person and I thank them for welcoming me into this melting-pot we all now call HOME.