The chilly November air swirled lovingly around us and leaves danced at our feet. Thoughts and questions pulsated in my mind. My world was on the brink of being turned on its side and I didn’t know what to do about it. Finally, in a moment I will never forget, I looked at the brick wall covered with ivy and said the only thing that sounded reasonable to me. “You know,” I said, gathering my thoughts as if I was about to deliver a monumental truth the world had never heard, “the world is much bigger than Indianapolis.”
Many people ask me about how I decided to go into missions, and like most everything else in my life, the story is long. You see, my calling (and just about every other important aspect of my life) cannot be contained in a moment. Rather, it is a process. A very long, complicated, involved process, which has included tears and many questions.
Robby and Tracy Bradford asked me in 2004 to join them in planting a church in Hilversum in The Netherlands. There was no way I was going to be taken away from my home, my church, and my friends. No way. I reminded myself simply that I wasn’t called into missions and that was that.
Then things began to change.
Fast forward to 2007, and the thought was being tossed around once again. I had spoken to the Bradfords about their upcoming church plant in Paris, and while the idea seemed fun, it also seemed quite unreasonable. I avoided the subject within my own thoughts as much as possible, but it became increasingly difficult.
That November, I got the incredible opportunity to visit a friend who was studying abroad in Rome. We talked extensively (well, I talked and analyzed and re-analyzed and overanalyzed and she listened) about the pros and cons, the romanticism of living in Paris, the difficulty of leaving everything I know. And then, as we walked one day to catch the bus to go on a grand adventure, the subject came up yet again. We walked in silence for a few moments, as I absorbed the irony of talking about it while in Rome. The beauty of the city overwhelmed me and I found myself feeling at home rather quickly. As we walked along the walls made of brick and covered with ivy, I suddenly felt what I can only describe as boundlessness. This is when my revelation occurred, that the world was indeed larger than central Indiana.
This simple moment was the first crack in the door, the first moment that my mind entertained the thought that maybe, just maybe, there could be more to my life than the path I had laid out for myself.