I began a 3 month Internship with THOP (Tauranga House of Prayer) on October 1st, 2012. How in the world did I end up here in New Zealand for 3 months you might ask?? Great question. Well, it began when we lived in Fort Benning, Georgia and I was volunteering at the Cafe in the church we were attending. The manager of the Cafe was Keri and she had been a missionary in New Zealand and had worked with YWAM and the House of Prayer. I overheard her talking to one of the ladies that I volunteered with about an Internship that her son was thinking about doing with the House of Prayer. For some reason it resonated with me. Anyway, we left Georgia and headed to Vicenza, Italy where teaching jobs are few and far between. We found out that Taylor would be deploying in the summer of 2012 for 9 months and I got to thinking... what the heck am I going to do for 9 months with no husband and no full time job!!?? For some reason, this internship came to mind and I did a little research. They had one that started in October and ended towards the end of December. Perfect!! After talking to Taylor about it and doing some praying, I decided that I was going to do it. Little did I know how life changing it would be.
Let me back up a little bit. I grew up in a Christian home with great parents. I officially made the decision to ask Jesus into my heart at church camp one year in 5th or 6th grade. Fast forward lots of years and I am in Vicenza, Italy at a Bible Study called Crazy Love by Francis Chan. So began my realization that my life was in fact fake and empty. The chapter titled "Luke Warm Christian" could have been written about me. There was no hiding the ugly truth…I was honoring God with my lips, but my heart was far from Him. Now I'm a little bit of a perfectionist and if something is wrong I want to quickly fix it. So, I immediately started doing the only thing I knew to do to fix my relationship with Jesus…seek God. I started reading my Bible and praying more regularly. I was bound and determined to cultivate a real life relationship with God. Although I was spending more time with God, I still felt like something was missing. Hence one of the reasons I wanted to do this Internship. Never before and probably never again in my life will I be able to set aside 3 months away from family and 'things that have to be done' and just focus on seeking the Lord.
So, this is the town of Tauranga where I spent 3 months of my life. Not too shabby.
There were 9 interns in all, 8 girls and 1 boy. There were 9 people that were on intern staff. We lived in a large house with a total of 14 people in all. 4 rooms, 2 bathrooms, 14 people, 3 months. Whew! I went from living by myself for 3 months to having 13 other house mates. It was definitely an adjustment, but I had great room mates! This picture is from graduation.
These were my room mates: Hannah from Georgia & Julia from Minnesota. Love them!
During the 3 months I was here God turned my world upside down. He took my heart of stone and gave me a heart of flesh. He showed me who He was (and not who I made Him up to be) and showed me who I was in Christ (and not who I thought I was). I knew in my head that God loved me, but for the first time I realized it in my heart. He opened the eyes of my heart to where I felt like I was hearing scripture and Biblical principals for the first time. Even now I am so overwhelmed by his mercy and love during that period in my life that sometimes all I can do is weep in humble gratitude when I think of it.
I do not think that you have to travel across the world and do some internship to hear God and have your life changed. All you have to do is seek His face. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. For me at this particular time in my life, drawing near involved leaving my life in Italy and giving 3 months to focus on my relationship with God and surround myself with people who were doing the same thing. And now, even back in the "normalcy" of my daily life I am committed to drawing nearer. Now that I have tasted and seen that the Lord is good, there is no turning back.