over the past year and a half, i contemplated enrolling in ministry school. in late july, i finally waded the waters of my uncertainty to an online application for nets (northeast evangelism training school). it was simple enough: name, address, number of years active in church, some recommendation letters, a part of my testimony, a fee. it was cool; easy. about a week after, i came into contact with alina, the office assistant at the school. she answered all my questions and chatted up the program, and everything was good. i was only ankle deep in my decision, it wasn’t real yet. the start date was august 20th.
let’s back up a bit to understand my situation for the past few months; despite my best efforts and close to hundreds of applications, some interviews, and extensive pre-screening processes, i hadn’t worked all summer. the cost of tuition was $4300; i had about $20 in my bank account. at the suggestion of alina, i began a crowdfunding campaign, and i’d like to say i received the full amount, or even half the amount, but $100 is all that came in. during this process, i decided to hold a fundraiser/concert/bake sale. i had three weeks to invite performers and audience members to ‘a night of poetic praise’ set for august 15th at 7pm, sharp.
in all i had about 10 performers, and by the time the date arrived, everything had come together. small decorations were being put up in the church multipurpose building, the food was done, and i had a stunning lineup of artists. the concert was set to begin at 7pm, so at 5pm i went to pick up a friend. i thought two hours would be plenty of time to do this simple task, put on real clothes, and get the food from my house.
almost as soon as i started driving, the rain swelled out of the ominous clouds that had been hovering all day, but i decided to press on. after about 15 minutes, i started to notice nearly all the roads on my path were flooded, and i passed some drivers who thought their cars could channel the girth of noah’s ark as they tried to coast the waters, to no avail.
finally, i had reached my friend’s street to find it completely covered in dirty storm water. she tried to take me a different way, but that was flooded as well. and the rain so thickly blanketed the skies, it was unwise to move. so i pulled into a cvs parking lot and sat while liquid bullets pelted the roof of my car as if they were saying, “let us in.”
i sat for 40 minutes worrying about all the things that would be wrong when i finally got back to the church.
at 6:34pm, i was able to roll up the driveway of my friend’s home and we were off. but, there were still important tasks to be done. the most pressing being that the food was not at church. so i had to stop off at home, to waste even more time.
here’s what happened:
- i arrived late (not dressed)
- my sound guy decided not to show up (so i had to do it)
- food that was supposed to be brought was not
- we started at 7:30
- a performer flaked
- a cord stopped working
- one of the mics went out twice
- i messed up my song
despite all the wrong–despite the slight dew of chaos in the air–the Lord blessed. all the performances were wonderful; the bread, cookies, brownies, and smoothies were a hit; and i raised $652 in one night!
in total i now had $752, and despite the wonderful success my concert generated, i was still short over $3000. i had lost; that concert was my greatest, and seemingly last, effort. i messaged alina full of doubt and defeat to tell her i couldn’t attend nets this year. at least i had tried my best and that’s all anyone can ask of a person, right? yet, she still told me to pack my bags, come anyway, and trust God.
i was now neck-deep in the realness of decision, and wanted badly to let my head slide beneath, but the risk was too great. i couldn’t do it. my logic wouldn’t free me; “what if i go and have to come back home?” i prayed for God’s will to be done.
monday morning, august 17th, i received a call from a strange number. if anyone knows me or my father, they know we don’t answer the phone, let alone for an unknown number. but my finger found its way across the flat, green circle on my screen and my ears were greeted by the voice of kevin, the program director for nets. he asked where i was in fundraising, how much i had, and what i was going to do. i told him about my fundraising efforts and that i concluded i would not attend this term because, i didn’t have even half of the money. it was then he offered a slant of hope, and said he would talk to his staff to “see what they could do.”
all day i waited, until 5:43pm. the phone rang again with the same unfamiliar string of digits, and kevin greeted me. he told me to come, continue to fund-raise, and even if i didn’t get the full amount, it would be alright.
i ordered my ticket that night, packed everything i could, and was on a train the very next day.
throughout this past week, i still felt doubt in the recesses of my heart–“should i be here?” “am i wasting my time?” for ten days, since the start of the program, i’ve felt void of any direction–until last night.
last night, after doing an assigned reading for class, i had never felt so close to God and understanding who and what He is. i feel a renewed vigor, and have never been more sure that He will provide for me. i feel affirmed in my decision to come to evangelism school. i prayed, and i prayed for others which is something i realized i had neglected. i can’t claim to love people and want the best for them, if i keep my prayers fertilized with selfish inquires and requests.
Love cannot be perfected where there is only one.
last night i asked God into my life again.
if you would like to donate to help pay my tuition you can click here. all support is appreciated no matter how seemingly big, or small.