Moving to St. Louis has probably been the biggest thing to ever happen in my own life. It signified a lot of things for me. I would (really) be on my own now. I would be eight hours away from home. I would be in a new environment where I barely knew anyone. The only people I would know were the few I met while here on a mission trip two months ago.
Where it began:
I came to St. Louis in March 2015, and honestly, I had no prior decision to move at that time. Back in Tuscaloosa, I had a job, I had a car, I had money. It's not to say that I regret anything because I don't have any of that now; but, it goes to say that I was pretty comfortable with my life back in Tuscaloosa. So, we spend a week in St. Louis, and I just fell in love with this place.
One night, during street ministry, we visited a place known here as Tent City. I spent the next 45 minutes chatting with a man named Chad. I would say that conversation is what convinced me that I would be moving to St. Louis. I told the team leaders later on that night that I wanted to go back to Tent City because I felt I had missed something that God was trying to show me. We were not able to make it back due to our schedule, but God gave me a revelation in that. Maybe God didn't want the team to go back; maybe God wanted only me to go back. And, it would make sense since I was the only one God called back to St. Louis.
In 2012, I had the incredible opportunity to visit both the Los Angeles and New York Dream Center. They were both remarkable opportunities, and the impact was great. After both of those trips, I felt compelled to return; yet, God would always close those doors. It's like He had something better for me. And, rightfully so. Because it led me to St. Louis, the perfect medium (literally geographically). God's timing is perfect. He knows what He is doing.
Where I am now:
I've been in St. Louis now for two and a half weeks. When I got off the plane, I took one look at my surroundings, and I asked myself "What in the world am I doing?" It's not that I doubted myself. I have full confidence that this is where God wants me. But, it reaffirmed why I came back.
This city has been a huge blessing to me. The love and support I have received since getting here has been overwhelming. I have the most incredible opportunity to serve in youth ministry again, which has always been a huge passion of mine, and that youth has shown me great hospitality. I'm working with mission teams, too, so that I can sow back into what brought me to St. Louis in the beginning. And, I'm working with the Street Ministry so I can be apart what had a major impact on my life. So, God has blessed me tremendously to be apart of these teams.
The interns have been equally hospitable. They have helped me out and have shown me so much since I've been here. They have encouraged me, kept me laughing, and accepted me like I had been here for years. I truly feel welcomed in St. Louis.
If I could just encourage anyone about the impact mission trips can have on you, I would say just go for it. Take a week, step out of your comfort zone, and experience God like you've never experienced before. And, you will experience Him. The prayers you pray due to discomfort, stress, or even homesickness, will show you how powerful God is. You will feel Him closer more than ever before.