My Breakthrough

Good afternoon fam,

Most of you who know me know that I’m not the conspicuous type. In fact, my friends call me a ninja because I’m so stealthy. I say these things so you understand how difficult it is for me to stand here regardless of how long I’ve been at Berea (23-24 years by the way) or how well I know you, but I have a story to tell that is so full of God’s providence that I would do God and myself a disservice not to share.

Lord, help my testimony help someone else and please don’t let me pass out amen!

  • Early February 2015 I came back from a mission trip in South Korea (that’s a whole ‘nother story called Silk Road Seoul).
  • Sometime in Early February or March, we had communion and after foot washing, Sister G. was getting the prayer circle started and I grabbed her hand. She asked me about my trip then she said,

“You working?”

I said, “No”.

“Need a job?”

“Why yes I do!”

She said, “Ok, I’ll let you know next week.”

  • March 18th I started working in Human Resources at MSU. You see, Sister G. is the Director of HR so, she da boss. Praise Him for unsolicited jobs!
  • My contract was only supposed to be for a few months but lo and behold, I was asked to re-sign for a year, which I did in June.
  • Around that time, I started praying for direction for my future. I had a job but what was my calling? What did God want me to do? Where did he want me to go? No answer. Hellllooooo?!
  • In September, with encouragement from a friend at BSU, I started thinking about art as a career path. It was something that always lingered in the background but until then I hadn’t taken it seriously so I started looking for classes.
  • (My dad passed November 4th but more about that in the Silk Road Seoul posts)
  • January 4, 2016 I got a university email about study abroad in China. Ok God, now you want to talk to me? Well, I’m listening. I asked if I was eligible for the trip even if I was only taking one class and got the green light so I registered for my class on Jan 6th.
  • Now this is where it gets bad (but it’s really good because God’s had His hands all up in it). The deadline was January 22nd.
  • January 20th I got notice that the deadline had been moved back to January 27th since it was winter break for students and classes didn’t start until January 25th. Cool, I had everything ready to go and hand in but then it snowed in epic fashion.
  • God…seriously?! School was closed Friday, January 22nd; Monday, January 25th; Tuesday, January 26th and Wednesday January 27th was liberal leave. Jesus take the wheel!

A snow drift had my car completely covered, the streets were a mess, sidewalks were unpaved and all I had were my non-insulated pleather boots protecting my feet but I made that 45-minute trek through knee-high snow because I was determined to turn in my application on time. God even sent an “angel” my way to keep me company, a lady named Sharon (whom I haven’t seen since), so I wouldn’t flip out when I saw that they hadn’t finished clearing the snow around campus and instead piled it up all crazy in the street. Tall piles of snow and short legs are not fun!

Campus was a ghost town. Of course nobody was in the office where I needed to turn in my application materials because “liberal leave” really means, “Oh, I don’t have to go to work.” I put my packet in the interoffice mail, confident that it would get to the right place the next day. Later, I got an email saying the deadline had been extended to January 29th because of the snow. Perfect! I had jury duty on January 28th so I wouldn’t be able to do anything if something went awry but then I actually got selected for a jury and was out of the office on January 29th too.

  • As of February 1st, my packet was nowhere to be found. My life was in that envelope; copies of my license, passport, photos and my social security number. I decided I wasn’t going to worry about it NO MORE and gave it to God.

“God, You brought this to my attention, You will have to see it through because I caaaan’t.

  • February 4th I got word that my package was received…6 days after the deadline. It had been misdelivered and was sitting on the wrong person’s desk in the same office. My contact said she would forward my information anyway and to expect a response by the beginning of March.
  • The first week of March came and went and I was told, “we’ll know something by the end of March.
  • In the midst of all this I was still praying for my future and career and pushed forward in pursuing a life as an artist for real.
  • March 21st I got a university email about an email about the museum on campus. God, you talkin’ to me? Are YOU talkin’ to ME? I figured I’d look into it.
  • Not long after that, someone told me Ms. D from across the hall in IT was looking for me. This lady is someone I had met 2 years before when I went on a field trip with my little cousin and her summer camp. When I started working at MSU she recognized me and we would chat now and then.

She said, “When does your contract end?

“the end of June…”

“What are you doing after that?”

“…not sure”

“Do you want to work over here with us?”

“Yes?”

“Alright, July 1st

I mentioned that I wanted to devote some time to my art so she said I could work part-time. Great! Thank you Jesuuuus! But really, what just happened?

God said, “It’s called a blessing, get familiar” or something like that.

  • The 1st week of April, I inquire about the China trip. All the while, I was praying and praising God in advance because I knew it was going to happen.

Ok, now it gets really juicy

  • Friday, April 8th, I had a chat with my supervisor, Ms. A, about God’s movements and trusting Him. That Sabbath evening I prayed and truly surrendered. I knew China was going to happen. God put it in my face and I had no doubts but I was holding on to everything else. It’s hard to pray for direction, clarity and purpose and get no answer. God had been giving me the silent treatment and I felt so lost and aimless. This time I asked for an obvious answer. “God, now you know I’m a little slow. I sometimes misinterpret your subtleties when it comes to my own affairs, so please make it plain.”
  • Saturday, April 9th Tony Hardy spoke about how God had blessed him and he is paying it forward with his charity, Kick Dreams United, which provides kids in Rwanda with shoes. He told his testimony about his spiritual struggle, how real prayer is and how he dealt with being unaccustomed to being uncomfortable. God spoke through him and it hit me then. I was praying for the wrong thing and God said, “yup”. I wanted a smooth, easy way out but God said, “If you want things to go your way this time, you are going to have to be uncomfortable. You can go the comfortable route but you will not get all the blessings I have in store for you.” I replayed what I had heard over and over in my mind.
  • Sunday, April 10th I decided to turn in a letter of resignation on Monday. I could smoothly transition out of my job at the end of my contract June 30th but I planned to go the uncomfortable route.
  • My supervisor was sad but she gave me her blessing Monday, April 11th when I gave her my two week’s notice in a resignation letter. “Whew, one hurdle down.” Ms. G wasn’t in that day so I had time to “woosah”.
  • Tuesday, April 12th, I got an email that said, “You’re on the plane.” Six others and myself were selected for the study abroad trip but two of us hadn’t been assigned to a school yet. I also realized Ms. G read my resignation when she walked past my desk and rolled her eyes at me. She didn’t say anything so I was nervous all day.
  • Wednesday, April 13th, I was like, “Ok God, this might not be so, ‘RING RING’…”

”Good morning Ms. G.”

“Can I see you in my office?”

“Yes ma’am.”

We talked and I told her all my concerns about burning bridges and that I didn’t want her to think I was ungrateful. I told her my intentions and desires; how I wasted to be an artist and travel and she said, “I didn’t know, why didn’t you tell me?” She encouraged me to apply for that internship and immediately sent me over to the Fine Arts Department to speak with an art professor, Mr. J. We had a nice talk and Mr. J said I could come in and paint or create whenever I needed to. On my way out, I saw the Director of the museum and he sent me to Ms. H, the Associate Director for details. I spoke with her for a while and she gave me some insight into the internship but said I should speak to the Project Manager Mr. G, who would be in on Friday.

  • Thursday, April 14th, I was feeling my oats! I saw Ms. M in the hallway and told her I had a big testimony to tell her and that she should have a seat in my office. I then ushered her over to the windowsill. She said, “God told me somebody had a testimony to share with me today.” Amen!
  • Friday, April 15th, I emailed my resume to the Administrative Assistant of the museum then called Mr. G to see if he was in. He told me to come on over. We hit it off immediately (I’m shy so that’s a big deal) and he explained some of what they were trying to do. I said,” oh, so you’re trying to take photos of each piece and add metadata to each photo so through search engine optimization when someone types in keywords the photo will come up in the search results. He leaned back in his chair, looked at me in disbelief, shook his head and said, “I was praying that God would send me someone who understood what we were trying to accomplish. He said that he had already made his decision and that anything I wanted to learn, he could teach me; Photoshop, Lightroom, lighting techniques and I could use the software. Also, if I wanted to learn from any other department in the museum, I could do so without reservation.

I left on a high and all I could do was praise God! Everything I put before God, everything I surrendered to Him was addressed in one week, Sabbath to Sabbath, sunset Friday April 8th to sunset Friday April 15th. Even if nothing works out the way I want it to for the rest of my life, I know God hears me and has my best interest at heart. I John 5:14 says, “This is the confidence we have in approaching Go: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.

Take-home points:

Pray and be specific– He hears and will answer. Ask God to reveal His will to you. Ask Him to open or close doors but be patient and wait on Him.

Trust– you can be completely and utterly convinced that something is going to go your way and be wrong. If you trust God, He will put you where he wants you to be and it will be somewhere and achieved in some way you never imagined but remember that trust goes hand-in-hand with obedience.

Talk to people– even if you hate talking to people with a passion like me, (though it’s hard to believe from the story huh?) you never know who is willing to help you if only they knew what your needs are, not a Christmas list or birthday gift but, “I want to do better in school, can you help me?” Take an interest in someone besides yourself.

Tell your testimony– it’s hard to witness to people sometimes, especially if you already find it hard to talk to people. You may be afraid to misquote a verse or make a mistake in relating doctrine but you can never go wrong in telling someone what God has done for you. Amen. (End of spoken testimony/sermonette)

  • Saturday, April 16th, I told Pastor Taylor that I wanted to give this testimony as the Youth Emphasis before the sermon the next Sabbath. He just looked at me and I had to repeat myself. I guess he found it hard to believe that I would volunteer to do something in front of an audience. He’s been very kind in not asking me but I just had to share.
  • Friday, April 22nd I found out I was accepted to Chongqing University, my first choice school for the study abroad trip to China.
  • Saturday, April 23rd, I stood behind the pulpit with my glasses off so I couldn’t see anyone and shaking like a leaf, I let all this pour out. “Good afternoon fam…”

*Next blessing happened after I gave my testimony in church

  • Monday, April 25th I caught the tail end of a seminar at work hosted by Mr. C, an Alumni of MSU. Later on my way to my car, the guy who tends MSU’s community garden, and that I always wave to, approached me and asked me if I was at the seminar. I was Mr. C! I told him it was my last day and that I was starting my career as an artist. He asked what kind of art and I ran down the list, photography, mixed media, painting, sculpture etc. It turns out he’s a photographer! Hopefully I can learn a few things from him. Booyah!

2016 is my year and I’m looking forward to doing what God wants me to do and the blessings to follow!

Silk Road Seoul (6)

            We got to Reagan National Airport super early to check in, eat breakfast and start to miss each other already. I ate my Dunkin’ Donuts like it was the last I would ever have (Dunkin’ Donuts’ franchises were common in Korea, by the way). When it got closer to boarding time, mom and I said our goodbyes then me and my barely-made-weight luggage made our way clumsily toward the gate. Loitering in the terminal until departure time, I started to get anxious. Was I making a mistake? Had I heard God correctly? Those were important questions but I was more concerned about making the dreaded small-talk with my seatmates. At 6:20 AM the plane’s engines started and I realized there was no one sitting next to me! Hallelujah for the small things! I relaxed and prayed but I was too amped to sleep so I waited for the sunrise.

            It took about 2 hours and 45 minutes to reach St. Paul International Airport in Minneapolis, Minnesota where I scurried about in the wrong direction, wasting a large portion of my 54 minute layover. Right as I was about to drop to my knees in defeat, in dramatic fashion, there came a little cart that would take passengers to their respective gates. I was uncharacteristically chatty and talked with the driver about my mission trip, family, and God’s role in my adventure. He opened up to me as well and told me about his mom and relationship with God as well. It was a pleasant experience and it made me smile to think that I almost didn’t get on the cart because I thought they were just for handicapped people. I wasn’t going to ask for a ride but I must have really looked like I was struggling because the driver offered instead. He left me at the gate and as he departed I just counted it a blessing!

            I breathed a sigh of relief that I had made it on time and by 9:00 AM, I was on my way to SeaTac Airport in Seattle, Washington. This time I had two people sitting to my left. I thanked God for window seats and nodded off as my neighbors happily chatted together, leaving me alone, just the way I liked it. I woke up and snapped a few photos out of the window while the plane was landing. This prompted my neighbor to ask if I was a photographer I was flattered to be mistaken for such but alas, having been taking photos with my cell phone I was a bit confused…but whatever, I didn’t mind the conversation since it was only minutes until we could be disembark. My seatmate and I got to talking about traveling, teaching, and my mission trip. She was so excited that I got excited too and I felt bad for trying to be invisible before since she was so nice. We parted after grabbing our carry-ons and I raced to the boarding gate. I was sweating like a Coke on the 4th of July in my fleece-lined coat, with my 20 lb. backpack and little, wheeled suitcase while trying to navigate the huge terminal at Mach speed. I had shared my testimony twice at that point so I was feeling all warm and fuzzy in the spirit by the time the plane reached the airport. However, the warm and fuzzy feelings came to an abrupt end and were soon replaced with stomach-dropping dread.

Silk Road Seoul (5)

“What’s his date of birth?”

“Huh? Um…”

I snapped back to reality and tried to focus on the lady peeping at me from behind the computer screen. I can barely remember my own birthday but this was important and I was drawing a blank. “God, you know I can’t do mental m…”

“ xx/xx/1939”, ”Thank you Lord!”

“What’s your relationship?”

“I’m his daughter”

            …and on it went. I overheard the EMT’s asking my dad a few questions too and also him lying about his smoking habit #facepalm. Thinking back, they probably had all of that information already. After all, it wasn’t our first rodeo. I signed as my dad’s guardian and went to the waiting room. They would not let my mom come back where my dad and I were because she did not ride in the ambulance so I knew she was anxious. We waited, and waited, and waited some more. Someone came and explained that my dad’s condition had stabilized but every time the nurses tried to get a scope down his throat to see the source of the bleeding, which they thought was in his stomach, brought his heart rate up to dangerous levels until he finally had a heart attack in the ER, which I ascribe to their efforts but I digress. Since he was not in pain and no longer spewing blood I figured he would be released in a few days but he would not be able to go with my mom and I to the airport. Maybe mom knew what I was thinking; sometimes she is intuitive like that. “I think you should still go on your trip.” I thought so too. In fact, it had never occurred to me not to go. Satan used this situation to get to me but I just was not having it. We made sure dad was situated and left for home. I am not sure what time we got home, around 4:00 am maybe, but I had been up for over 24 hours so I crashed into a dreamless sleep. We went back to the hospital later in the day to see my dad putting on a brave front. He wasn’t in any pain but he was ready to go. If we had not taken his clothes with us he might have escaped.

            We went back to the hospital later on that day and dad put up a brave front. Of course, he didn’t want to be there but when he asked about his chances of getting out of there by Sunday and was told that it was unlikely, I think I actually saw him deflate a little. Well, sometime Sunday before I went to see my dad, I got a phone call from a doctor at the hospital.

“Hello? Ms. X?

“Yes, this is she”. My heart was racing; I thought something was wrong.

            She said that as his guardian, I could sign some sort of temporary release waiver where my dad could get out of the hospital for a while and be checked in again later. I don’t know what possessed her to tell him about that but he was pretty surprised when she relayed my, “not happenin’ partnah.” His response was, “WHAT?!” and the doctor’s was, “See, I told you Mr. X”. His intention was to be released so he could drive me to Reagan National Airport, about a three-hour round trip, in the wee hours of the morning, then plop himself back down in a hospital bed. There was no way I was going to allow it. If anything happened on the way there or back, I would have to get on the plane knowing my dad was in bad shape. Mom and I explained that to him when we went to see him later. He finally accepted that our goodbyes would have to be said at the hospital and wished me well. We prayed, then mom and I went home to rest. My flight was at 6:00 am Monday, December 15, 2014 so by 2:00 am we were on the road to Reagan.

Testimony Time

          I am still working on the Seoul stuff but I have some testimonies to share. The first portion is part of the end of my Seoul series but I can’t wait.

It was my first communion after returning home and it was a great day. After foot washing, one of my church members tried to get everyone together for prayer and I grabbed her hand.

“Let’s get this circle started.”

“How are you? How was Korea?’

“Teaching wasn’t for me but I loved living there.”

“You working now?”

“No…”

“Want a job?”

“Yes!”

“Okay, I’ll let you know when you start in a couple of days.”

          So can I get an amen? Just like that, my prayers had been answered. I had been praying for a job for ages. I have done a lot of temporary jobs and I wanted something more stable. This too is a temporary job (at the time I wrote this) but it is at a university where I have worked twice before thanks to that very same sister in Christ doing the Christ-like thing and filling a need where she saw one. It turns out that someone broke their leg and would be unable to work for a few months but God is all up in this situation. He did not answer my prayers the way I hoped but He worked it out for my good and to his glory.

          I feel pretty comfortable at my job, which, as a shy person, is a blessing; however, I always wonder how I can represent God in the workplace. My mom is wonderful at this and I admire her for it. She has started a prayer circle at work, which is going strong, and she regularly talks to and encourages her coworkers in Christ. I am so proud of her, she has come a loooong way. I am nowhere as social as she is so my methods and movements are not as spectacular but I prayed that I could show Jesus at work if only a little and He answered!

          I heard my boss listening to a gospel song and I told her about Urban Praise, which is a wonderful online gospel station that even has two-minute sermon snippets and life advice regularly. It is not an SDA station so there are bits I disagree with but to combat my coworkers’ music and conversations, it is great! I emailed my boss the link and she was pretty excited and thanked me for it. Next, there was a visitor in the office who quoted a gospel song on her way out. I found out her name and sent her the link plus a video of Andrews University’s Deliverance Mass Choir and she loved it. Then I sent the same to my sister in Christ, who works in the same office, so she can have it when she needs a praise break. Last, was another woman in the office who asked me to fix her computer. While in her office, I noticed she was playing gospel music from her iPad. When I was finished, I asked her if she liked gospel and gave her the link too so she could use the online player and save her iPad battery. She really appreciated it and I thought, “God, you are amazing”.

          All of the people whom I had the opportunity to share with have important positions; Coordinator, Associate Vice President, Director, and Associate Director, which makes even more of an impact. They all have offices so they tend to play their music without headphones. They also get many visitors for meetings and whatnot so anyone who steps into their offices can hear it too so it is like passive witnessing in a sense. Even though it was not a huge life-changing thing, I am glad that I could inject a little spirituality into a secular environment.

          One more thing I wanted to write about was my jury duty adventure. I had jury duty on April 23rd and if you have ever gone, you know it is terribly dull, for the most part. I will be the first to say that I am directionally challenged and I consider it a huge victory whenever I get somewhere I am unfamiliar with without incident. Unfortunately, this day was a #fail.  I have no idea what causes this phenomenon but no matter how much I stake out a location, Google it, or write my own tips and tricks, about 85% of the time I come out of subway and walk in the opposite direction of where I should be going and don’t let there be more than one exit, I will wander aimlessly in the labyrinth. Anyway, what should have been a 5-minute walk, most of it around the perimeter of the courthouse itself, turned into a 30-minute excursion.

          I walked to the end of the block and asked someone to point me in the right direction and after two blocks and a left, I arrived at the federal courthouse…not the civil courthouse where I was supposed to be. And now I know that there are two courthouses…in close proximity to each other. I asked a security guard for help. After two more blocks and another left, I was on the right track. There was a girl talking to a guard a ways ahead of me. As I got closer, I could hear the guard giving her directions so I asked the girl if she was going to the courthouse for jury duty, she was so I told her to come with me. She had a hard time navigating and was anxious since she was not familiar with the downtown area. We walked and I told her what to expect since it was her first time serving.  Even after all that, we made it on time.

          A few years ago, I would have overheard the guard giving directions as I passed by and walked ahead on my own, not to purposefully be rude and unhelpful but just to avoid interacting. Putting in earphones, sometimes with no music playing, taking the long way to circumvent people, reading, talking on the phone, or pretending to so I can avoid speaking to anyone; I still do things like this sometimes but not nearly as often as I used to. I do not want my ways to prevent me from being kind and I definitely do not want to miss out on helping someone in need or showing the love of God because Jesus did not but sometimes I get overwhelmed and quickly revert to old ways (that’s a lesson in itself and Peter comes to mind). These things may seem like small potatoes but it is progress for me so these small things make me excited about my spiritual and personal growth.

*Bonus I found out the next week that my job term is likely to be extended, this week someone asked me was I still interested in another job and a contact I have in Korea said he will be contacting me about a job there.

 

Silk Road Seoul (4)

          Through all the disappointing moments and frustrating circumstances, I decided to stay positive and trust God. I clearly felt the difference. This new “que sera, sera” Kelli was a complete departure from my normal, neurotic self. The devil knows how to push my buttons and I often fall for the provocation but this time it did not work so he changed strategies and attacked my family.

            My plane ticket was for Monday, December 15, 2014. On the 10th, my mom ventured out to take groceries to a church member. It was raining so for my mom, who prefers not to drive under such conditions, it was no bueno. Good Samaritan that she is, bless her heart, mom made the trip. On the way, as she was coming to a stop at a red light, her car cut off without warning. No power meant no steering. There was a car stopped ahead of her in her lane and a car approaching from behind in the adjacent lane. By the grace of God she had just enough momentum and maneuverability to drift into the other lane in front of the approaching car, narrowly avoiding the one in front of her, before coming to a stop. When the light changed, she coasted to the red light at the next intersection and restarted her car. It worked! Despite the scare, she came home transferred all the groceries to my tiny car and continued to her destination. Naturally, I was glad she got back safely and touched by her awesomeness. It is amazing the things that happen when you try to do good for someone else.

            Later on that day I went to hang out with my friends since it was supposed to be the last time I would see them for a year. I was super careful in driving after hearing about mom’s near collision. After hamming it up with the homies, I headed home. As I pulled out, I just felt this urge to get home. No hunch, premonition or bad vibes, I just felt like I needed to get home in a hurry. It was 1:00 am Friday when I got home. The inside door was wide open and the light was on, which was unusual. Mom was walking through the living room. She was cooking when I left (if you don’t believe in God, you might after you taste her cheesecake) and it was unlikely that she still was. “I know she’s not still making these cheesecakes”, I thought. She was on the phone, which was even more unusual for that time of the morning. I walked up to the door and hesitated. “Come inside”, she said. I went in and eyed her warily because clearly something was wrong and she said, “Go downstairs, your father’s throwing up blood”.

            I am not usually squeamish but seeing so much blood at once was alarming. There was a large bloodstain on the floor. My dad was sitting on the edge of the couch with a bloody paper bag between his feet. He was spaced out and sweating bullets. I have never seen anyone sweat so profusely. It was scary. All I could do was call on Jesus over and over between wiping dad’s sweat and asking him if he was in pain; thankfully, he was not. The paramedics came downstairs and I went up just before they carried my dad up. It was heartbreaking to see him carried like that but he was too weak to walk. The paramedics needed room to work in the ambulance so I was told to sit up front of the ambulance. There was a small, window separating back and front but I could not see much of my dad. I turned around and sighed thinking, “what now” and my mind was just blank. Whether I was talking to God, or myself I do not know. At some point the EMT driving and I spoke but I do not even remember what was said. My mom followed the ambulance in dad’s van and by 1:17 am we were in the emergency room.

Silk Road Seoul (3)

            Somewhere along the way I was informed that there would be two weeks of training at the end of October. “Cool, last two weeks of October, no sweat. I still have time.”

October 1st – I found out that I was expected to be at the Institute in Seoul on the 16th which meant I would have to leave on the 14th or 15th, due to time zone changes and whatnot, almost a week before the “last two weeks of October” that I expected…”Jesus take the wheel!”

October 2nd I was told “they” were still deciding whether they would have me join for the October or December term.

October 10th – I was a little frazzled and challenged God, “You told me to go and I’m going but you have to get me there.” I had just figured out the apostille process and sent my documents off. Without the apostille, I could not get my visa and the instructions said not to get a plane ticket until I had it. I asked if I could switch to the December term because I was still waiting for documents and at that point felt rushed and unprepared. I had not even started packing.

October 11th – My contact basically said, “we’re ready and waiting so just come.” No apostille, no visa, no ticket and just come? Sounds legit.

October 13th – I was running around like crazy.

 

October 14th – It was 1:15 am, I was spent. I was packing, unpacking, repacking and about to get frustrated so I prayed and took a break. I told my mom, “it looks like I have to get a ticket and just go tomorrow. I am unprepared but I just have to go and that is that. If God said go, He will have my back.” I figured I would check my email once more before buying a ticket and this was the message I read,

            Hi Kelli,

            I’m awfully sorry about this but one of our schools cancelled their request for a new teacher so I’ll have to move you to the next upcoming term [for] which the arrival date is set to December 16. Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns. Thank you.

            All I could do was praise God! I got that message the day before I was supposed to leave. My mom said that sometimes God just wants to know we are willing. Of course He knows but maybe He was making plain to me my own level of commitment and I am grateful. I could barely have imagined myself being that open and obedient. That is the type of thing I would read about and say, “wow, that’s amazing” and yet there I was taking that leap of faith. Better still, at 6:28 pm that evening I received an email that my apostilled documents had been shipped and were on their way to me. Amen! Little did I realize that Satan had been attacking the whole time and the small battles were going to escalate exponentially. It was about to get “real”.

Silk Road Seoul (2)

            I was calm, cool, and collected. This time I stepped out of God’s way. When I did that I realized that I was moving too fast and in my excitement to tackle something new, I had not thought things though. The teaching job in China would require me to work on my Sabbath, not much religious freedom in a communist country you see. It was the same for teaching jobs in Japan, except for the communism angle. Once in a while there would be an activity or sports day scheduled on the Sabbath and I just cannot compromise even if it is just once and in my experience having compromised before, it is rarely just once. It was a blessing in disguise and because I leaned on God and not my own warped understanding (Prov 3:5-6), I could discern things that I would not have if I had reacted in my usual manner. Was so happy. I felt like I was finally doing something right and being rewarded spiritually for heeding God.

            First, I started filling out the forms. Then I started working on Passport to Mission, an online course of sorts that lets the decision makers see where your head is or how you would possibly cope in a new environment. The online session had already started for those who desired to begin their missions in October and about half of my time was already gone but I pushed through and finished with little time to spare, maybe minutes before the deadline. Next I started on the identification related things; fingerprinting, FBI background check, photos, etc. Things were moving right along but time was winding up.

            September the 16th my contact at the main branch of the SDA Language institute in Seoul asked if I wanted to start in October or December. Well, things were still going fairly smoothly so I said, “October”, which was the plan since my timing for the August session was off. “Yeah, I can do this,” was my sentiment at the time. Then I hit a snag; the mysterious and oft dreaded apostille/notarization process. Getting my degree notarized and apostilled was a trial in itself and has its own blackened file in my memory. Some people I asked treated these separate processes as if they were the same, I had conflicting information, and in general no one even knew what an apostille was nor had they hard of it. I even went back to my Alma matter and they gave me the run around too.