My call to the United Kingdom
Last August, I had a vision of a stage with stained glass in an intercultural church with the phrases “you’ll know it when you see it” and “don’t worry about the money.” I had no idea what it meant at the time, but now I realize the Lord was preparing my heart for the United Kingdom.
My heart for intercultural missions began after I went on a mission trip to East Africa through my high school. I originally wanted to spend those two weeks in England, but my mom pushed me to go to Africa. I’m sometimes reluctant to give her credit for redirecting my plans, but that trip fully changed my life.
I remember sitting on a balcony at our hotel after our second full day in Tanzania, fully amazed at what I had experienced that day. That was the first time I recall thinking how beautiful a life spent living around the world, leading people to Christ, could be.
I finished out my two weeks in Africa and returned home to the States, optimistic and humbled by everything I had seen. I knew the trip had changed me, but it wasn’t until a few months later that I realized what the Lord was up to in my heart.
A few months later, I moved into college as a communication major. I was also in a general education intercultural relationships class and was reminded of Africa every single class period. I had an undeniable push to add intercultural studies as a second major. I prayed over it consistently and stumbled across Isaiah 6:8. “Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?’ And I said, ‘Here am I. Send me!’”
Some weeks passed and I think the Lord used that time to shape my heart in ways I didn’t notice until spending time in a quiet place with Him. After adding my second major, I had an undeniable call on my heart to one day become the content creator for a global missions company. I know with confidence that this call is from the Lord because it is something too sacred to be of my own imagination.
I blinked and finished freshman year and then sophomore year. It was the August of my junior year, and I was at a work retreat for my job in the chapel office. We spent the morning in prayer and shared testimonies with one another. Next up on the agenda was some alone time with God, in which we focused on asking Him to reveal something He had in store for the next year.
I remember lying on the carpet of my boss’ home office, not quite sure how to even start a prayer asking God to reveal things to me. I tried quieting my mind, and a clear image came immediately.
A big stage stood in front of me and there were colors everywhere. Stained glass practically glowed as waves of color twirled in front of my vision. I asked the Lord for clarity and knew with certainty this was an intercultural church. Along with this realization came the phrases “you’ll know it when you see it” and “don’t worry about the money.” I knew this had something to do with the call to missions I felt two years prior, but that was the only sense I could make of it at the time.
I started praying that the Lord would prepare my heart for another mission trip. After all, I had just gotten a tattoo of Isaiah 6:8 on my forearm as a permanent reminder of the work I felt called into. I had been antsy to travel again but wanted to make sure it was not just on my timing.
The church service I attended the next morning focused on missions and sure enough, the stage had towering sections of stained glass. I knew this was the Lord confirming the vision I had the day before, even if it still didn’t make sense.
Months passed and nothing about the vision seemed to make any more sense. However, between the fall and spring semesters, I felt a push from the Lord to start regularly attending the church I visited in August with the stained glass.
I figured it was worth a shot if it randomly reappeared in my mind, so I started attending. I loved the messages and finally felt like I found a church in my college town that I thoroughly benefitted from, after only three weeks of attending.
It was a regular Tuesday in January when my academic advisor texted me a picture of a business card of a mobilizer for Global Partners. She told me to find him in the student center and ask about an intercultural internship. I figured I’d done weirder things for her, so I might as well interrupt my schedule to talk to him.
I met with two Global Partners mobilizers for more than an hour to discuss the likelihood of a summer internship with NEXT involving both communication and a foreign culture. The catch, however, was that I would have to apply that night, considering applications were due a solid three weeks prior.
I called my parents to explain the situation and they probably thought I was absolutely crazy. Being the supportive and fiercely loving parents they are, they said I should apply for it, especially in light of the vision I had in August.
By the grace of God I was able to get everything turned in for my application that same night. I had a three-hour phone interview the same week, and while I didn’t share what was stirring in my heart prior to applying, I thought that this might be leading me toward where God wanted me to go. My only hesitation was my relationship with the boy I was dating at the time. I knew if this was meant for me, then we would make it work, but two months felt like a lot to ask from him.
I found out a few weeks later that I was headed to the United Kingdom! I was excited and couldn’t wait to share with the people in my life. That’s when my day really became full of unexpected news: my relationship ended on the same exact day we received the placement emails. While it was a tough redirection of my plans, the timing was nothing short of the Lord intentionally showing me He had something better in store.
Weeks passed, and I desperately asked the Lord for clarity in why I was headed halfway across the world. I didn’t feel like I had a clear answer, I just had the feeling that something bigger was in store that I couldn’t see at the time.
Before I knew it, I was on a plane headed to the UK. On our second day in the country, jet lagged and a little cold, we headed to our home church.
The vibrant worship woke me up, and suddenly I had seven words pop into my head: “you’ll know it when you see it.”
The sight in front of me looked just like the vision I had back in August. I was standing in an intercultural church, and in front of me were waves of color from a flag and the light of the stained glass on stage.
I don’t know what the Lord wants to do in and through me during my time in the UK, but His guiding hand has been so evident to me throughout the past few years.
I’m learning that the Lord loves showing up for us in big ways – He just asks for our obedience in following where we feel He is nudging us.