My Story: Index
Continued from Part 2...
I ended up going back home to Wisconsin. I moved back in with my parents, and stayed in a room in the basement.
Honestly, I wasn't really sure what to do. Of course, I prayed. And I read-- a lot. But, I didn't know what else to do! I would go to the library and to church, but all my Christian friends were in college, so I'd get bored and lonely. It was a tough time for me. I struggled with the party-life of my non-Christian friends, and of course, I struggled with the temptations of lust. I had some wild life-swings from one end of the spectrum the other- from days of prayer, study, and fasting, to nights of drinking and revelry. It was very emotionally draining... I did a lot of repenting.
Eventually, my parents made me get a job.
While I was busy being all religious, they were debating whether or not to start charging me rent. They eventually did charge me. So, I got a job as a server at a local restaurant (I didn't have a car, so I needed a job close enough to walk to...). I spent several months just working, praying, hoping, and looking for something, waiting for some sort of opportunity.
My mom was getting anxious. She said I needed to make a change, that I needed to do something else. She noticed my wild swings from uber-pious to hung-over and annoyed with life, and I knew she was right. So, I re-examined my life and beliefs, and realized how much I looked up to the Bakers. I told my mom about them, and she was intrigued. Needless to say, however, it was a big surprise to her when I decided to go visit the Baker's ministry in Mozambique, Africa. Not exactly was it what she had in mind, but it got me motivated and out of the house.
Africa came and went like a dream. It was a three week trip, full of prayer, new friends, singing, dancing (during African worship services, of course), and new experiences. I was hoping to see miracles, but I didn't see them. One of my main motivations to go to Africa, actually, was to see miracles. I longed to see them. However, they didn't happen - well, at the very least, not that I noticed.
Nevertheless, I arrived back home with a renewed vigor and good memories. I remember sitting on the couch in my parents house telling my best friend about the trip saying, "less than 24 hours ago, I was sitting in the back of a pickup with a bunch of African orphans, singing songs under the stars as a pastor drove us through the African bush."
Wow, life can change so quickly.
Not long after my return did I start working again - back at the restaurant, saving up money for my next adventure. I got a call from a doctor I had met while working at Friend Ships. He asked me if I'd be willing to house-sit and dog-sit while he and his wife did medical-missionary work in Africa somewhere. He said he wouldn't charge me any rent, and I could work on his mother-in-law's horse farm on a mountain in the Appalachians. I said "heck yes," and left Wisconsin for Virginia in a matter of weeks. Life was exciting again, and I was glad to be out of my parent's house, doing something.
Unlike my time in Africa, time in Virginia passed more slowly. It spanned a few months, and allowed me to gather my thoughts and explore more of life on my own, out from under the pressure and influence of my parents and old friends. I continued to read and pray, and I worked (a little, on the farm), but not much was going for me. As the end of my stay drew near, I was getting anxious for something to come up, some sort of opportunity.
It came when my friend Debi got a call from one of our Friend Ships friends (Debi had been in Friend Ships, too). She was asked if she'd be willing to come back to Friend Ships and sail on the next mission trip to Israel. She was super excited, and told me about it. We both decided to go, and couldn't wait to leave. We were packed up and out of Virginia in no time, on our way back to Friend Ships and, eventually, on to so much more.
Go to Part 4...