For many of us the start of a good story is the phrase, “Well, see what had happened was…,” and today’s riveting true narrative of being transformed by the gospel while sharing the gospel is no different.
Well, it all began walking down the steps in the Divinity School at Wake Forest University in the Fall of 2012. Fresh out of undergrad, trying to navigate the contours of graduate student life and discern vocationally the million dollar question everyone wants an answer too – “What do you want to do with your life?” – and despite having been asked a million times was still causing me to fumble my way through to the uncomfortable answer, “I don’t know.”
I had been spared this ordeal the previous Spring because as a graduating senior from the illustrious University of South Carolina (home to the best athletic team in every sport) I could deflect by saying, “I’m going to seminary to pursue God’s call for my life.”
Now a few months into class, overwhelmed by papers, behind on my reading, I bravely ventured downstairs to the divinity school amphitheatre to go to the career fair where I hoped to find the answers to life’s deepest question: “God, what do you want me to do?”
Seeing a guy standing alone at a table and the other tables occupied by students, I met the smiling face of Dave Degler, the national recruiter for A Christian Ministry in the National Parks (ACMNP).
He asked me the usual questions: my name, year, and summer plans.
Admittedly, I could answer the first two but when it came to summer plans, my only plan was I had no plan.
He encouraged me to consider spending a summer in America’ national parks leading a team of believers to provide worship opportunities for the millions of tourists from all over the world who flood the national parks during the summer.
He explained that I would be able to live in some of the most beautiful places on earth, connect with God through creation, and earn a scholarship for school.
I began thinking to myself, “Self, I can do this.”
Then he said, “You can go hiking and camping…”
Now, I have a confession. I’m not outdoorsy and I believe camping is paying to be homeless. The idea of sleeping on the ground defeats the purpose of working.
I was prepared to appreciate God in the beauty of creation. I was even prepared to prayerfully lead a team to help others encounter Christ. But walking in the wilderness with wild animals let alone sleeping on the ground in their vicinity close enough to be attacked by them, I felt was a sign from God.
Hearing the voice of my fifth grade teacher Ms. Heidi Willis in my head during one of the school D.A.R.E. program, I heard God’s voice say, “Just say, ‘No.’”
Tragically, for me my mother was correct in her assessment of my hardheadedness. I leaped at the opportunity.
Partially excited about living in a national park and concerned about not having a summer job, as we transitioned to the Spring semester I called Dave and said I was interested in working with ACMNP for the summer, launching a lifetime relationship with A Christian Ministry in the National Parks that led me to spend two summers serving in Grand Canyon National Park at the South Rim (2013) and Grand Teton National Park at Colter Bay (2014).
You may be wondering whether you should share your testimony with a friend to encourage them through a difficult time. Share.
You may be asking if now is the appropriate time to tell a peer or co-worker about Jesus. Share.
You may even have heard the gospel and are hesitant to respond, or received an opportunity to serve God and are unsure how to proceed. Share.
Share in the story of God transforming communities. Share the love of discipleship with others so they may experience the joy of Jesus. Share that through him we can experience the best life, darkness must end, and hope for a brighter tomorrow is closer than you think.
Because he shared, I will forever be grateful to Dave for a life changing experience of gospel ministry that changed my life.
Because he shared, I too feel compelled to share.
Written by Dominique, a FaithSocial user.