In September 2016 I’ll be boarding a plane to Cyprus, where I will spend 9 months serving with Youth For Christ. I couldn’t be more excited to finally be able to share this with you all! These past couple months have been quite the journey, but God has been creating something so beautiful.
When I found out I couldn’t go to Tonga, I was given several options of what I wanted to do next. At that time I was so confused and overwhelmed. I wasn’t sure of anything anymore, and it was hard to try to think about another placement when I was so set on Tonga. After I had some time to process these changes and pray about it, I really felt that God had led me to YFC for a reason and that He was still calling me to serve with them. He really grew in me a passion for the mission of YFC: to reach youth everywhere and disciple them in their faith and develop them into leaders who will then disciple the next generation.
I asked my coordinator to just send me information about Cyprus, which was one of the placement options she gave me. To be honest, I didn’t really think I would end up going there, I just figured it couldn’t hurt to hear from them and learn a little more about what they do there. The Johnson’s (the missionaries in Cyprus) contacted me shortly after and we set up a time for us to Skype so they could tell me more about their ministry and what it would look like if I would come serve with them as an intern. Our first Skype went well, but afterwards I REALLY thought I wasn’t going there. It sounded really hard, and I didn’t feel like I was qualified to serve somewhere like that. I remember thinking,
“If God wants me to go here, I’ll go, but He’s going to have to prepare me and equip me for it because on my own I don’t have what it takes”.
At the end of our first Skype we scheduled a time to Skype again so that I could ask them questions and tell them a little about myself and what I’m hoping for in my gap year. The day before we were scheduled to Skype again I almost cancelled it, because I felt there was no way I would go to Cyprus. But I decided to go through with it and see what they had to say to my questions, and then I planned to tell them that I didn’t feel like it would be a good fit for me to serve there.
As I’ve been learning over and over again through this journey, God knows far better than I do. His ways are so far above my own, and just when I think I have him all figured out, he blows me away again. Before our second Skype, I had been praying that God would give me an excitement and passion for wherever he wanted me to serve. As I talked to the Johnson’s the second time, all the concerns and fears I had about going there were gone. God had been preparing the Johnson’s before we even talked, and they had already planned for all the things I was worried about. Before the end of our conversation I was so excited about Cyprus!
God changed my heart and totally answered my prayers. I was afraid that I didn’t have what it would take to serve in this specific ministry environment, but God reminded me that he is my strength. I was right, I can’t do this on my own, but God is not limited by my weakness.
As a daughter of Christ, I have been given, “everything [I] need to live and to serve God”. Peter tells us that we receive this power simply by knowing God who has “called us to his own glory and excellence”(2 Peter 1:3).
Before I leave for Cyprus I will be learning about disciple multiplication (the ministry being done in Tonga). I will be attending a several day training in the states, reading books about T4T (training for trainers), and chatting with the missionaries in Tonga, which will really help me get my head wrapped around the ideas of Church Planting Movements. This is something I have become very passionate about, and I am excited to be able to take what I learn with me to Cyprus. While I am there I will learn from the missionaries there, be mentored by them, and help run the youth programs they have. I am hoping to also begin discipleship groups with girls in their programs who have made a decision to follow Christ.
I am so excited to see how God continues to work together all of these pieces that he has been developing in me through this past season. My prayer is that my heart would continue to be open to whatever God has for me. Although I can’t see the whole picture now, God is so faithful to always give me enough light to see where the next step is, and I’m learning that this is enough for me.
Quick Facts on Cyprus:
Location: an island in the Mediterranean Sea, off the southern coast of Turkey and western coast of Syria
Language: mostly Greek, also Turkish and English
Religion: Greek Orthodox, Muslim (among Turkish Cypriots)
Economy: mostly based on industry and tourism
History: the apostle Paul took his first missionary journey to Cyprus