Hello, my name is Naomi, and I'm serving as a Journeyman in the Philippines for two years. Josh asked me to do a guest blog for OneLoveSkateOutreach.Com and to share a little bit about what God's been teaching me since I first came to the field in October 2009. I'm going to share with you a bit of my story, so please be open to hearing from my heart what God's been doing.
I came here to the field bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, willing to do anything, go anywhere, and stay for however long God wanted. And it was a good place to be.
Growing up, I've always strived for independence, thinking that adventure and transient living was the life for me: just the open road, God, and me. I thought it was "cool," and I lived a good part of my college life following that dream. And at the time, it was a good place to be.
But shortly after coming to the field, I was sent to a sort of spiritual wilderness. I spent three months alone in a foreign city, learning language and culture. It tore me down emotionally and left me starving for fellowship. Then, after three months, I was sent even further into the literal wilderness to live in a small town four hours away from any outside connection. In this small town I was the only foreigner, and I lived there for one year. If being on my own for language study had broken me down, moving to such an isolated area in a foreign land with foreign dangers and foreign gods demolished any hint of self-sufficiency left in my heart.
I had asked and sought and chased independence, and God gave me exactly what I wanted without saying a word. I struggled deeply with loneliness and isolation, but at the same time, I was able to "wrestle with God" and grapple with doubts about His message and His plan both for the world and in my life. I ended many nights on my knees beside my bed, sobbing and asking my loving Father difficult questions. Then I would wake up the next morning with the same weight on my chest and travel to a remote area to tell people that Christ offers hope.
It was a dark time in my life, and although the silence of God burned deeply, the Word of God stood more firmly and more closely than I had ever experienced before. Simple biblical concepts like faithfulness, grace, and rescue brought me to tears. I was finally beginning to comprehend the character of God. Ministry and spiritual growth went hand in hand while God began to change my goals in life. It was no longer independence that I loved; I no longer chased adventure and the open road. Instead, I have learned to allow God to chase after me. And this will forever be a good place to be.
There is so much more to this story, but given this opportunity to share, I wanted to say this… people have asked me how my Journeyman experience has been so far, and my response is this: It's been so much harder than I thought it would be, but God is so much better than I ever could've ever dreamed.
To read more of Naomi's journeys in the Philippine's, check out her blog: http://naomikk.wordpress.com/