When I applied for summer missions, the opportunity in North GA caught my eye. I’ve enjoyed visiting there before, or at least driving through on the way to bigger mountains, and it wouldn’t be too far from home. Of course I convinced myself that I should go somewhere more interesting, a little farther out of my comfort zone, and perhaps somewhere that would sound more impressive when compared to places like Thailand, Hawaii, and Ghana. I wanted to encounter people who were from a different culture, share the Gospel with people who had never heard it, and try things I had never tried before. At interview weekend I was still unsure of where I wanted to go, so I asked God to send me wherever He wanted me, wherever there was a need He wanted to me fill. So He sent me to GA.
In spite of the looks from people pretending to be happy for me when I told them about my assignment, I went prepared to do my best and serve God with an open mind and a servant’s heart. I learned my first weekend on the field that I didn’t need to leave the state to find those experiences that I thought were only possible on other continents or in different regions of the U.S. The first person with whom I shared Christ was a 6-year-old girl named Hannah who had never heard the Gospel. Almost every time we did face painting on the street I talked to someone from another country. Every week of day camp brought children who were eager to learn who Jesus REALLY is and how, in the words of a 5-year-old boy, “He died, but after three days He lifed again!” Twelve of those children accepted Christ. I explained the EvangiCube to a boy while he had his face painted, unaware of the large crowd of people who were watching me from the sidewalk. I washed the windows of a tattoo shop after being called a beggar, hiked around waterfalls, and learned how to have Jonah swallowed and then spit out of a whale (made out of a balloon, of course). I learned that my failures are not much different from anyone else’s, and that God can use my past to help others deal with the present and possibly impact their future. Most importantly, I learned that God can and will use anyone, anywhere, in any way He wants, if we will only be willing to say “yes.”