As some of you may know I have been a missionary to Catalina Island (a small island about 30 miles south of the California coast) for about 4 years now. It all started back in December of 2009 where God started to take me totally out of my comfort zone. I received a message one day that a young brother of a friend from school was having some major health issues due to a tumor he had and for some reason it totally rocked my world . This was weird for me because I had never even met the kid but God kept putting the situation on my heart in a heavy way. The younger brother did not end up making it and I decided to go to the funeral. As I was sitting there I heard of all these amazing stories of faith that this kid had at such a young age while going through all this pain so I prayed and asked God to give me the faith that kid had. Well God works in some amazing ways because just a few weeks after that I started having some really rough health issues. I decided to go to the hospital where I found out what was going on and that I now have a tumor (Matthew 7:7). As you could probably imagine that totally shook me up and I had no idea what was to come. I remember so vividly sitting in the hospital room after receiving the news and a million thoughts were going through my head. As I was wondering what was going to happen next I committed to God that no matter how the story ended to let my life glorify HIM.
As God was doing all of this He started to grow a passion in my heart for missions and that totally freaked me out. One thing that I always promised myself was that I would NEVER be a missionary and the one thing I said I would NEVER do God was leading me to do. God has built a huge passion in my heart for working with youth and of living a lifestyle of worship (John 4:16-26) but now it was growing into missions. I found that the more I fought this calling, the more God was leading me and now the question was "where"?
After much prayer and fighting, God started to reveal to me that He was leading me to Catalina Island. I started to hear of the mission work to be done there with the youth and God started to stir in my heart even more so that passion about missions. I started to pray and really seek God and through some amazing affirmations God has assured me that's where He was leading me.
Does It Get Any Easier?
A lot of questions get asked about living on an Island and many people assume that it is the easy life but I can truly say that the last 4 years have been some of the most challenging and at the same time the most rewarding times in my life. When I first knew that I was being called to Catalina Island I felt like I was prepared for the unknown but I can honestly say that I wasn't. I have been challenged in so many ways, I have struggled, I have questioned and yet there has been one consistent this whole time and it has been the love of Christ.
I remember growing up that once a year my church would bring missionaries to speak on what was going on in their part of the world and there was always this thought they had it all together. They left everything to bring the gospel to the unreached so they had to have it all together. I can tell you first hand that being a missionary doesn't simplify things but in many ways challenges you more than you could ever think. I don't want this to sound like I'm complaining because I definitely am not. I am truly thankful for this mission God has brought me on. I would not change it for anything.
Through the good and hard times God shows his love and grace and in turn ministering to others doesn't become a monotonous task but a proclamation of what He is doing in your life. If it was all easy then where would the growth be? I have seen God move in more ways the last 4 years than I have ever seen in my 27 years of life. Lives have been changed not only here but in many other places because of the perfect love and grace.
I am still working with the youth on the island. I have been mentoring, counseling one on one, tutoring and have started a small life preparation group which is biblical based and helps them face life's issues the right way. Avalon (the only city on the island) has about 4,000 people that live here year around and yet has 3 times the crime rate as the city of Los Angeles. The youth here are dealing with the same issues as youth everywhere are but being such a small town it is majorly magnified. Drug addictions, mainly meth and suicidal tendencies are the biggest issues at hand and God has placed me in the middle it all. I am also coaching on the high school football team on the island and that has been a huge ministry. It has been a blessing to see 4 of the players dedicate their lives to Christ and openly live it out. Most of my time is spent connecting either up at the school or around the town. I have been blessed because the youth have developed a trust and have been very open about their issues. This in itself is full time and takes up most of my time here.
One of the main ministries that I was apart of when I first moved out here was being part of the worship team and leading worship sets. Those were some of the greatest times I have been apart of. God moves so powerfully during worship and it's so humbling to be apart of. Recently I started having a lot of throat issues so I went to a throat doctor to find out what was going on. The doctor placed a small I camera down my nose to look at my throat and saw that. My throat and vocal chords have been majorly damaged. The doctor told me that I can no longer sing until I have a specific surgery to try and repair the damage. With all that being said I know that God is greater than any physical issue and if He calls me to sing then I just be obedient.
The Mission Continues...
The missions, no matter how easy hard, continue and not just here but throughout the world. Gods message is being proclaimed and I am humbled to be apart of it. My plans for 2014 are pretty simple and that is for me to focus on the things that glorify Christ and live a life that shows His love and not just speaks of Him. At this time I am trying to raise fund to continue the mission here. It does take support from my brothers and sisters in Christ to do this. It takes me a little under $15,000 a year to do all of this and due to the economy being so bad, support has been rough lately but I know God will provide. Thank you so much for taking the time to read all of this and I do appreciate your prayers and support.
Your brother in Christ,