Tuesday, July 13, 2010

What is she babbling about?

I'm sure by now you are wondering what the point is of this long story. Where did the pursuit lead me?
Well, after I got back from Europe I had this feeling in the pit of my stomach that I had to go back to Slovakia. I didn't know how or when I would return; I just knew I had to go. The Lord tended to work in His timing, not mine, so I just waited until He showed me what to do. After months of endless job applications and some interviews, I still didn't have a job at Christmas. But I was a little closer.

This may sound weird, but I promise this is exactly what happened. One Sunday afternoon in November (Nov. 8, to be exact), I was minding my own business, sitting in my room, when all of the sudden the Lord whispered in my ear, "Campus Crusade for Christ." Campus Crusade? Really, God? Huh. I had never done anything with them before, except the English camp in Slovakia. Of course! Campus Crusade was perfect! I would be able to combine my love for missions and my talent for administration if I worked in one of their offices. According to their website, the closest regional office was in Austin. It was only 3 hours from home, and I even had family close by! I even cried as I read the job descriptions for positions available in the office. They described me to a T (for Tiffany, naturally). My roommate, Sara, and I were so excited about the idea that I started work on the application that day!

Since I knew practically nothing about Crusade, I asked everyone I knew that had worked with them in the past. The more I learned about them, the more I loved the organization. They not only worked with college students in America but also around the world, as well as having many other ministries across the globe. 

After a month of researching, God began whispering again. This time it was about Slovakia. I wanted to go back. We had worked with them that summer. Why couldn't I go back with them? The timing seemed perfect. I still hadn't found a full-time job. It would be the last year that my brother would be at home.

When I emailed Campus Crusade about the possibility of going over there for a year, the guy who emailed back had previously lived in Slovakia for 12 years. He was good friends with the director. Of course! It was obvious that this was exactly what God wanted.  They actually created an internship for me. I would go to be the director's assistant. After talking with the director, Doug, and his wife, Patti, while they were on furlough in Texas, I knew everything they were looking for was exactly what God had gifted me in. It truly was tailor-made for me

Everything began to fall into place. I found a temp job with a lady from church. When that job ended, I found a job working for a lady from my Bible study. I was never without income when I needed it. The application process for the STINT (Short Term INTernational) took a while and the waiting process took even longer, but I knew that this was what God had ordained for me.

My love for Campus Crusade for Christ grew with my knowledge of their operation. I even had the opportunity to go to the World Headquarters in Orlando, FL, for free. I spent a weekend making new friends with similar giftings as me. I met the girl who was processing my application, Lauren in the Human Resources ConneXion office. They would be the office sending me to Slovakia. A wonderful surprise of the weekend was having dinner at the Crusade president's house, Steve Douglass. His wife, Judy, was a graduate of UT. We had Texas barbecue and Blue Bell ice cream, flown in specially for the occasion. All in all, it was amazing.

On April 14, I got the news I had been waiting for: I was accepted as an intern for the next school year! I would be returning to Slovakia at last! Now I am in the support-raising portion of my ministry. My goal is to raise all my funds by the end of August and leave in mid-September. I'd appreciate your prayers, as well as names and numbers of interested parties. As if I could make this story any longer.... ;)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Pursuit (Part 2)

After the realization that I no longer knew what I was going to do when I graduated, I looked for ways to use my talents. Every year the college group at my church went on mission trips around the US for the week of Spring Break. My senior year we were all going as a group to a big missions conference in Memphis, TN. Since about 200 people were all traveling together to Memphis, there were a lot small details that needed to be taken care of. After a conversation with one of the staff members, I was given the opportunity to help the coordinator. Kevin was great at big picture things and interpreting the Lord's leading for the group, but he was very disorganized. He gave me free reign over bus seating and room assignments. I also did research on places to stop for food along the way. It was so much fun!

I know it may sound crazy to some people, but I really enjoyed making room assignments. I also helped plan the big fundraiser that we did every year at the church. It may not have seemed like much to some people, but again I really enjoyed myself. I learned that I enjoyed having some control on things behind the scenes. I think it stems from my need to be "in the know."

Every summer the college group went on month-long trips around the world, usually supporting a team of full-time Denton Bible missionaries. Since I was finally going to have the summer free I decided to sign up. God led me to the team going to Austria and Slovakia. I had never been overseas, but boy was I excited! Our leaders, Matt and Liz, were going over to Vienna to live as missionaries with Serve, the Denton Bible mission organization. Since they were leaving 3 weeks before our trip, they asked one of the guys to be a co-leader and asked me to be in charge of the finances. As scary as it was to be in charge of the money for a team of 11, I, again, really enjoyed it!

While we were in Austria, we helped set up a camp for the high school and college students of the Baptist churches. It was such a blast to get to know some awesome Austrians. One of the guys on the team had previously lived in Vienna doing missions and knew some of the students who came to camp. In Slovakia we worked with the national director for Campus Crusade for Christ to put on an English camp. God totally worked it all out, having 9 teachers for 9 students. We were able to have quality one-on-one tutoring time. The students ranged in age from 14-26. It was a wide age range.

I was partnered with a sweet girl named Mirka. She was 24 and has just finished college. She had a heart for the children in Africa and wanted to go on a mission to work as a nurse in North Africa. I loved being able to talk to her about the culture in Slovakia and also her love of Jesus.

Overall, I completely fell in love. Slovakia was one of the most beautiful places I had ever been. The people were so sweet and loved talking about Texas with us. Even though I was homesick and very tired after a month of walking through Central Europe, part of me never wanted to leave. I wished all my friends and family could move to Slovakia. :)