If God is calling you to go, you should definitely go
One of the hardest lessons God, continuously, teaches me is this:
When an opportunity is presented to me and I am stubbornly against it, 99% of the time it is because it’s exactly what I need to do.
This is generally because of my pride, and because I believe I know what is best. So, instead of trusting the Lord and His leading, I fight against the decision every step up the way until I finally surrender.
It was the winter of 2012 that my college pastor asked me to go to Utah for a missions trip. With a chuckle, I politely declined. In my head I was thinking, “Me? Go to Utah for my first missions trip? No, no no! I will be the one flying to a foreign land half way across the globe to reach to an impoverished country… Not an hour away from my cousins house.” And with a smile he replied, “Well, I’m going to pray about it, and you’re going to go.” It must have been God speaking through him, because he was absolutely correct. I was going to Utah. Now, as I said before, when my stubbornness and pride kick in I don’t go easy. I fought against going to Utah in every detail of the trip.
Just to throw out some examples. I refused to apply to go (probably because I knew the outcome). My pastor suggested I apply, also letting me know others had applied and it wasn’t a guarantee I would even be chosen to go. When I got home that night, I applied; within ten minutes I received the congratulatory letter stating I was going… dang it. Next, I needed financial support to go. I asked a handful of people to support me to go to Utah, and they all turned me down with a response that went something like ‘Utah? But their all such good people!’ In my mind, I completely agreed. So I decided I would not send out any letters asking for support. A week later someone anonymously paid for my whole trip. Ugh! Then there were the meetings. I considered them to be pointless, and decided that my time was much too valuable to go to the informative meetings. I did not go to any meetings except the one my pastor specifically asked me to go to because we had a guest speaker. It was at that meeting that I was invited to go to a party the night before we left for our trip. At the party everyone was asking if I was ready or if I was nervous and I would reply with a simple ‘no.’ I wasn’t nervous. To be honest, I still wasn’t convinced I was even going to go.
But, when the morning came I packed a suitcase and showed up at the church. That’s when it became real, and I started to panic. I knew nothing about our trip! I didn’t know what city we were going to, I didn’t know who all was on our team; I didn’t even know how we were getting there. Who were we reaching out to? What do they believe up there? How have I been so stupid and arrogant?! I was one of the first to arrive at the church along with a guy named Justin (yup, my husband) who was casually sitting on a cajon. I walked up and with tears in my eyes said, “We are going to Utah today… and I AM FREAKING OUT!” All he replied was, “You’ve known about this for months though.” It was true. Deep down I knew that I was going, and I knew it was what I needed to do.
“God, I surrender. I have no idea what I’m doing, and I have no idea what to expect, but I’m going. I pray that you use me in the way YOU choose. May Your will be done.”
Upon arriving at Temple Square in Salt Lake City a gentleman named Russ East, manager of Utah Partnerships for Christ, met us and acted as a tour guide around Temple Square. Little did I know, we planned a trip to Utah around a state holiday called “Pioneer Day,” so Temple Square was packed. As we walked Russ pointed out the different buildings, explained what Pioneer Day was, and told us his story. Russ grew up in a Mormon household, and when he was eight years old he was baptized into the Mormon Church. He distinctly remembers the day his family attended Santa Rosa Bible Church, six years later, because the pastor described a salvation he had never heard; salvation by grace, through faith. This was something I had heard almost my entire life, how could he have not heard of the true grace of Jesus; the grace that is freely given, not earned? My heart broke… Have some of these people not heard of the good news that Jesus has done the ultimate work on the cross?
It was a somber, and humbling, walk around Temple Square the remainder of the evening. After our tour we drove to Ogden where we would stay for the week at a place called “The Blue House.” Through the week we did many activities such as; work around the Blue House, volunteering at an elementary school, visited wards and learned more about the Mormon faith (and made some friends), provided lunch so we could talk about the differences in our faith with the people we met, and even a free car wash to spread the love of Jesus in the community. But one particular event stood out to me the most; the Pioneer Day Parade.
Float after float went by praising someone named Joseph Smith, and not one float of Jesus was to be found. I watched for, maybe, twenty minutes before deciding to walk around and go to different shops instead. I didn’t want to watch that anymore. I walked into a camping store and a guy about my age approached me and asked if I was looking for anything in particular. I let him know I was just looking, then he looked at me and asked, “You’re not from here, are you?”
The conversation continued:
“No, is it that obvious? I’m from California. I’m up here visiting with a group of friends to reach out to the community.”
“Oh, are you Mormon?”
“No, I’m a Christian. Are you?”
“No, not anymore anyway.”
“Oh, did you leave the church? Or…?”
“Well, I was born and raised in a Mormon household; so, automatically I went to the Mormon church. But when I turned fourteen I was confused about my faith, and things didn’t line up for me. I felt like there were a lot of contradictions that I couldn’t explain, so I started to ask my friends. My friends didn’t have answers either, so they told our Bishop. Our Bishop came to me threatening that I should not ask these things because I was questioning God and I was a bad example to others. But I couldn’t shake it off, I wanted to know the truth, so I ignored him and continued asking. A couple days later he came up to me again and threatened me that I needed to keep my mouth shut, so I decided to stop going. I kept it a secret from my parents for a little while, but when they found out the told me that if I wasn’t part of the church I wasn’t part of their family and threw me out. I was homeless for a year and a half before I got a job and moved in with some random people I met. Now I’m more of a Buddhist. I just want peace and love, nothing else.”
My mind was blown. I never knew things like this even happened! It’s decided, this is where I need to be. I need to move to Utah… When we got back to the Blue House I asked Russ if he was looking for an intern, and he enthusiastically replied, “Yes! Let’s meet at the end of the week to talk about when you’ll be coming back.” So, the last day of our trip I met with Russ and, to my surprise, Justin had decided to come back as well. I was just happy knowing a familiar face would be there in Utah with me. We collectively decided that a month would be enough time to pack our things, tie up loose ends, and leave.
This trip was absolutely life changing for me! Please take my advice, if God is calling you to go somewhere, just go! “Going” could mean across the world, across state lines, across the street, or even across the hall. If God is the One leading you, I promise it will not be a regrettable decision.