I didn't go looking...it just sort of found me. I mean, I knew something was going on...I'd had this "unsettled" feeling since February. I'd prayed through, trying to figure it out...wondering if it had something to do with the fact we were going to have to move or the fact I've been at OM for four years and maybe the 'new' had worn off. I'd finally come to a place where I trusted God with whatever and knew He would guide my course. I'd wait and see.
I've always had heart and passion for women, women's issues, women's ministry. My friend Ali, over the course of several converations and a couple of books, had opened my eyes to the issues women face globally and I have read and prayed over so many stories, articles, etc. Wondering how God was going to use me to make an impact. This summer, God started bringing me back home (so to speak). It started when I watched a documentary called "Very Young Girls" (I highly recommend). During the documenntary, Rachel Lloyd says that American's perspective are skewered. When we look at sexual exploitation in other countries we call it "sex trafficking" but when it's happening here we call it "prostitution" because somehow that makes it easier for us. That hit me hard because I realized that while I spend a lot of time focused on international trafficking, I hardly ever think about it here in the US. A few weeks later I went to meeting where Rachel Lloyd was speaking...it was during this meeting I heard it's estimated that-on average-400 girls a month are commercially exploited for sex in Georgia every month. The average age of the girls, 14. I was stunned. I knew I wanted to do something but I didn't know what.
When I found out I would have to organize and lead a service project for a class I was taking, I decided I wanted to work with one of the organizations in Atlanta that work with the issue of sex trafficking in Georgia. I went on the Street Grace website to look at possible volunteer opportunities. Wellspring Living was one of the organizations on the site and it's located in Peachtree City. I'd heard of Wellspring Living before. I knew about the work they did helping women recover from destructive lifestyles but I wasn't aware of how much work they do to help girls who have been trafficked in Georgia or the advocacy work they do. I called and talked to Christine and began to organize a team to help with the Tour of Faith which promoted the work Wellspring does and helped them raise funds. After the event, I met with Christine a few times to help with their volunteer program. While Christine was out of the office getting married and enjoying her honeymoon, I answered volunteer inquiries. When she came back, she took me to lunch to thank me...and talk to me.
She told me her position was changing, that she had already talked to Mary Francis (founder and president of Wellspring Living) about me and that they were wondering how I'd feel about coming on staff at Wellspring to direct the volunteer program. I didn't feel comfortable giving an answer until I had talked to Jane (my supervisor, friend, mentor and "Mama Bear" at OM USA). I went straight to her office on my return and told her about the conversation. Jane replied, "Here are my thoughts." I anticipated a list of pros and cons that included housing, income, benefits, etc...it's the way Jane thinks...which-for those who know me-is really good for me. So I was shocked when the next thing that came out of her mouth was that though she'd hate to lose me and I'd be difficult to replace, this job and this ministry were "my heart", it was who I was and that it would be a better fit for me than the work I was doing now. I mean, I'd known that but I hadn't expected her to be that blunt about it! I had a couple of other friends pray with me and everyone was feeling the same thing...this was the path and I should walk it. I emailed Christine and told her if Wellspring Living offered me a positon, I would take it.
The next week, they offered me the position. I took it.
The transition will actually be a long one. I'll be working ten hours a week at Wellspring and 30-35 at OM until the end of the year. As of January 1st, I'll be full time at Wellspring. I'll be the director of their volunteer program, speak on occasion, and teach/mentor one day a week at the Girl's Home. I'll be half salary/half support in order to better meet my budget (if you are interested in giving to my support, let me know and I'll be glad to send you instructions!). The long transition is both good and bad. In a way it makes it harder. I keep looking around OM, talking to friends, sitting in prayer time, having meetings and I think "This is all going to change" I know that I'll still see so many of them but the connections will change. I'll miss them-a lot. OM USA has been such a huge and wonderful part of my life that it is really hard to leave it behind. However, at the same time, I'm incredibly excited to be a part of what Wellspring Living is doing and anticipating the time when I can put my full energy into being a part of it. And-to be honest-trying to get the things I need to get done with two jobs, going to school and being a Mom is a bit exhausting...and I've only been doing it a couple of weeks. If you could pray for my energy and focus, that would be awesome!
The cool news is we have found a house...and it isn't even a mile away! It's a really nice one for a great price. The family that lives there is actually leaving OM as well...they'll be moving to Gainesville to work with Adventures In Mission. So we won't move till they do, which is around the last of November.
And that's where we've been, where we are, and where we're headed.