As part of debrief week, we were asked to write down some of the phrases that we would like to be heard saying when we got home (to help keep us positive and get our motivations straight). One of the ones I wrote down was, “It’s good to be home.” Seems simple, and probably like a given. But after 6 months of being in a Christian bubble, surrounded by people who are likely to walk up at random moments and give encouragement and/or prayer and/or prophecy, practically force-fed the Bible on a daily basis (in a good way), and having nothing to do but focus on loving God and His people…coming home can be abrupt. I’ve lived long enough to know that when you step from one world – be it college, another city, or a 6-month mission school – to another, it can get a little bumpy. Not because of anything wrong, simply because you’re stepping from one world – one routine, one set of people, one climate, one mindset – to another. So I figured if I could say, “It’s good to be home,” and mean it from the bottom of my heart, I’d be doing pretty well.
And I can honestly say, it’s good to be home. SUCCESS! But it’s not by accident. I prepared for this! I prayed a lot, gave myself a nice buffer in Oahu with some of my YWAM friends, and made lots and lots of plans to help me stay busy and not just slip into laziness. Background. My parents have lived in Reno for about 8 years. I’ve never lived here for an extended period of time. I think the longest time I’ve spent here was the summer after college: maybe about three and a half months. So…I know my parents and their home church…and that’s pretty much it. I had some co-workers from a summer I interned here, but I’ve been out of touch for probably 6 years. Yikes. So usually when I come home for visits, I get a lot of quality family time, help out with the house (my parents built/are still building their own log cabin), do home church things, and relax a lot. That’s great for a week. Not for 3+ months.
So, like I said, I prepared. Priority one upon getting home and settled was making some friends. I had a couple ways I wanted to go about this. First and foremost, find a church that I like and meet some young Christians folks. Second, swing dance. I LOVE swing dancing, and it’s a reeeeeally easy way to meet people. Praise God, there is a brand new swing scene in Reno! It’s like He was preparing this place for me. I’ve literally looked for places to swing dance in Reno over and over, pretty well ever time I come home. Nada. Until now. God loves us in all the best kind of ways 🙂
Priority two was to find some ministry opportunities here that I can jump into to serve the area and keep stretching myself a bit. I was planning on asking around about this while church-searching, then, during a google search, I unexpectedly stumbled upon YWAM Reno. YWAM Reno! A thing I had not even considered might exist. Much like the swing scene, brand new. They just celebrated their one-year anniversary. How cool! As soon as we got home from wedding shenanigans this weekend, I sent them a message to see if we could hook up.
So today was a great day toward both of my goals. I met with YWAM Reno this afternoon, and it was really awesome. They are three strong, haha. But all YWAMers…ie really sweet, really in love with God, and really invested in people. They have a ton of cool ministry events that I can jump in on, and to boot are just really cool people that I think I can enjoy being friends with. Two birds with one stone! Boomsauce! Then tonight I went swing dancing. Met a bunch of really fun people, 90 percent engineers (typical), and one guy who attends the church I was looking at. I wanted to go to this specific church because it has a 6 pm service, and I still want to go to my parents’ home church Sunday mornings. But talking to this guy made it sound like it will also just be a really great fit. Plus I’ll know someone there! Which makes a really big difference. So God is just putting cool opportunities and people in my path. It’s really amazing to see. I mean, I know that His provision and His love follow me everywhere (side note: did you know that in Psalm 23:6 where it says “Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life,” the word for “follow” literally means to chase, pursue, dog, or persecute. Meaning that goodness and mercy follow you everywhere, dog your steps, hunt you down! If I’m going to be persecuted by something, I’m glad it’s goodness and mercy!), but sometimes home feels so comfortable. It can be hard to think of it along the same lines as YWAM, where every day was out of my comfort zone and I was basically forced to trust in and walk with God. Today was a good reminder of how He’s faithful to direct my steps, no matter where I am or what I’m up to, as I’m faithful to seek Him first.