How do I even begin to tell this story? What a journey this has been for me. See, my story is a little bit different. My story begins in 2014 when I applied for a spring Internship with Choose To Invest. I thought it was just an unrealistic dream that would never happen, but God was preparing a holy transformation that was going to change everything for me.
In January of 2015, I packed my bags, met my team of four, and headed for East Africa. I thought I was ready and had God figured out. What I wasn’t prepared for was that the next four months would be the most challenging, most refining, and most beautiful season of my life. I experienced true brokenness in the realest way as God took everything I built my life on and deconstructed it while I was surrounded by brothers and sisters who showed me the love of Jesus like no other. Being so consumed with my own wrestle with God, I left thinking I had wasted so many opportunities to dive deep with community and the East Africans. And when I stepped back on American soil, I was afraid that I would not get the chance to return. But God, in His faithfulness, had a different plan.
I found myself back in East Africa this summer as a Journey intern. The place and the people were familiar, but I had no idea what I’d gotten myself into when I stepped into community with 11 other interns all trying to seek Jesus together. I knew coming in, though, that I wanted to take advantage of every moment and dig in with all I had to what the Lord was offering. As I began walking, my load felt lighter than before. Of course, I didn’t have my phone or the responsibility of planning my day anymore, but it was bigger than that. God was doing something new in me and it started with the places.
At the compound, we broke bread as a Journey community and learned to speak truth over one another. Sitting around the white table, we became family. Community 1, which was the place I wrestled most last spring, was full of joy and life. God revealed that I need only to come to Him to be filled with His Spirit, and when I dig in He shows me the depths of His love. Community 2, I walked through the wilderness as I watched Him provide water and grace in the mess. Community 3, I found rest that satisfies my deepest longings and can’t be found in a pillow. Community 4, I began to dance and embrace the wild nature of God. In talking with my old friend Peter about how much I had changed since Spring, I realized that God had sent me back to East Africa to teach me to let go so He could restore me. He took me from the valley in Spring to the mountain top on Journey and both were beautifully sanctifying.
While there was a clear difference for me of Spring Internship and Journey, I could not have learned what I did from the Lord without having gone through both. In all ways, they are each a holy picture of sanctification. They are both a journey that take truth from our head to our heart. Those words above in bold are the truths He walked me through specifically this summer. And so for me, the Journey didn’t begin in May. It began a long time ago and it’s not over yet. I still have the rest of my life. This might be a new season, but it’s the same journey with my same Jesus.
He is calling you and me to a surrendered life and begging us to let go of everything to chase after Him. His love is better than anything on this earth. I saw it in the spring and I have seen it this summer, nothing compares to the glory of God. And as my dear friend and fellow intern Alex says, “We spent the summer staring at the face of Jesus and we can never be the same again.” So I will walk into this next journey, whatever it may hold, with my hands open and my eyes fixed on Jesus because I know that He who calls me is faithful and He will surely do it.
Yes and amen.
-Emily Heyduck | Journey 2016 Intern