I have suitcases sitting in the front room waiting to be filled. I have an open Word document with a packing list. I have a wallet from the bank with Euros sitting in front of me. I have a passport safely in the basket on the shelf. And, most importantly, I have a plane ticket! Exactly one week from today, the 22nd, I will be on a plane headed for Berlin! It’s hard to believe that the time has finally come to actually be in Germany. This has been an interesting idea, a vague concept, and distant future plan, but it’s finally about to be my present reality!
Exactly one year ago today, September 15th, GoCorps launched their 2016 placements (fun fact: the 2017 placements were released today) and I started the application the very next day. I realized I haven’t shared much on this blog about the process of how I got here, so I’d like to take the time to do this. Fair warning: it’s a bit long. God just blows my mind so much it takes a lot of words to fully express!
The scene: it was March of 2015. I was a junior at Belhaven and was starting to shift my focus towards the future—senior year and beyond. There were several professional dance companies I’d been following for several years that I thought might be a good fit for me, so one weekend I decided to sit down and find out when their auditions were so that I could tentatively plan out when I would need to travel the next year.
An hour later I pushed my laptop away in frustration. This wasn’t what I wanted to do. Sure these companies were great, but I didn’t want to audition. I didn’t want to be in them. Suddenly, I didn’t want to do the very thing that I’d spent my entire life and my college career training for. Instead, I started randomly Google searching words to see what would pop up. I had vague ideas of travel, ministry, and using art in some kind of outreach, but wasn’t really looking for anything in particular. One of the links I just happened to click was GoCorps. A few more clicks later and I’d found their listing talking about the arts café in Berlin with ReachGlobal. On a whim, I entered my email for more information, did a little more searching, and gave it up for the day. But the vague thought kept floating through my head “What if I moved to Berlin?”
A week later I got an email from one of the fabulous GoCorps coaches following up with more information and asking if I had any questions. A few days later I surprised myself by scheduling a phone call and asking a million questions. I was gathering information, but I still telling myself that it was out of mere curiosity, I wasn’t really going to move to another country, that was crazy! All summer long I don’t think I went a single day without the whispered thought of “Germany…” going through my mind. I texted a few people and asked them to pray for me. I wouldn’t even start applying until September at the earliest, but I needed God to be really clear with me. Prior to this, I had never, ever considered being a missionary. I had never wanted to move to a different country. This was completely new to me, but as time went on I kept thinking about it more and more.
Senior year began and the 2016 GoCorps placements were released. I remember sitting on the floor of my friends’ dorm room reading through the different placements the night they came out and there was just something that felt so right about Germany. I remember asking my best friends if it was crazy to be thinking about this, but the next day I started the application. In December, the day before I went home for Christmas break, I received my acceptance email. Looking back, I don’t even know how I got through the whole application process. GoCorps and ReachGlobal are very thorough and it was a long process complete with lots of forms, surveys, references, and interviews. Simultaneously, I was preparing to graduate—taking high level classes, putting together my senior dance project, and working as an officer in the student club I was in. In addition to that, there were a lot of personal things going on in my life and the lives of those around me and it was very difficult at times. I was reflecting on that period yesterday and I see what a testament to God that whole semester was. I could have easily decided that there was too much happening that semester; it wasn’t the right time to apply. Thankfully, God was so faithful and so patient, but so persistent with me! I found that when I came back from a busy day, a long week, or a difficult test, working on an application material I expected to be stressful was actually a refuge and much needed time to rest and talk to God. In the midst of craziness, God used that process to draw me ever closer to Him.
So here I am. Seven days away from Germany. It’s hard to believe that the time has finally come to go, but it also seems so…normal. Like from the first time the thought crossed my mind to go to Berlin it was already a foregone conclusion and now I’m just stepping into what was already prepared for me over a year ago. God has been so good to be and so completely faithful and trustworthy. I’m so grateful that He brought me through this process and I wouldn’t change a moment of the past year because it brought me to this place. I have no idea what to expect in Berlin, but I do know that the Lord isn’t going to change. His love and faithfulness will continue as he guides me in this new phase of life. As an encouragement to anyone reading this, even if you feel like you haven’t got a clue what you’re doing with your life, I promise you that God loves you more than you could ever know and that He has an amazing adventure planned out for you. He’s just waiting for you to reach out and take His hand.
“My soul clings to You; Your right hand upholds me.” Psalm 63:8