Written By: Jonathan Hill, Kansas City Fellow – Class of 2015-16
There are no coincidences, and there is no luck. Over the course of the Fellow’s program, I have seen God at work in ways that seem random and lucky. I am learning that God’s plan is more beautiful than I can understand. Also I am learning that all these amazing ‘lucky’ or ‘coincidental’ occurrences point to a God who created the universe and is actively involved in the work of redeeming creation. I am convinced that God uses the radio in my life to speak to me. I was in a situation recently where I was driving to talk with a person about a disagreement, and God pointed me to 1 Corinthians 13 through a Christian radio station. Hearing that message really prepared my heart for the discussion and tempered my heart with love. I came into that sermon on the radio exactly when God wanted me to and I am so grateful that he gave me that gift. God has an amazing way of working in our lives if we submit to his timing.
One of the blessings which God gave me in life, was the clear call to the Fellow’s program. As soon as I heard about the program, God showed me that I would go to Kansas City for at least nine months and learn more about him. The interview process for the Fellows is also a witness to God’s design. I had finished the preliminary interviews for the Fellows and was down to the last one. My mom had a field trip with her students up to Kansas City of all places at the exact time when the final interview would naturally happen. Not only that, but there was one extra seat and she invited me. As a result of that, we decided to do an in-person interview/work-day for my final interview instead of a Skype interview. My interview literally consisted of Kevin Rauckman and I helping a Pastor at Christ Community move into a new house and just candidly talking about life. How cool is that?!
The call was so clear, but the journey seems random. As a person who likes structure and control, I find myself struggling to trust God’s timing. His plans seem too random, too un-orchestrated, too different from what I had in mind for my life. A large part of me wants a safe and comfortable life. I am learning that God calls us to much more than that. A life where we live in his leading and go where guides even when those places seem random or scary. I would never have guessed that straight out of college I would be living in Kansas, working at a Humanitarian non-profit, and living with host families. Each of these occurrences have made life amazing, but also hard. Living away from family is a tough thing to balance, work in a new field can be daunting, and living under new rules can be difficult. With work, I was not sure where I would be working two weeks before I left for the program. That is scary, but it is also a great opportunity to see God at work and realize that he is in control of the situation. I am learning very slowly that God uses these times of uncertainty to point us to him and to rely on his perfect provision. He is the giver of every good and perfect gift and is in control, so there is no need to be uncertain about the future. Sometimes I feel like I want to re-gift his gifts whether that be by what I say or how I act. I want to say that his leading in my life would be good for someone else, but there is no way he is actually calling me personally to do those things. I am learning though that his plans are more amazing than I could ever imagine. I personally would not trade my experience with the Fellow’s for the world, and I truly believe that he called me deliberately and specifically to this program in his own timing.
And yet, temptation remains. The Fellow’s are all about to graduate from the program and we look to the next step for our lives. Where should we live, work, serve, go to church? All these questions play through our minds as we contemplate the next chapter of our journeys. Each one of us has a different road. Different skill-sets, different passions, different stories. In the end though, each one of the Fellow’s has a loving God that is watching over us and holding us in the palm of his hand. We all do as Christians. He will not let us fall.
This blog post is a great example of God’s timing. I was supposed to complete my post 6 days ago, but for some reason I have not felt ready to write. My first reaction as a person who loves structure is to feel bad about missing a deadline and thinking of all the poor implications that this has about my character. God has been working in my heart to take my eyes off myself and fix them on him during the Fellow’s year though. He has not laid anything on my heart to share until today, and I am trusting that his timing is right for this blog post.
Some quick updates about the Fellows:
Live: All’s quiet on the home front. A big thank you to all of our host families for their continued selfless act of taking us in for these nine months.
Learn: We just finished our third class last weekend in which we continued our discussion of Social and Cultural Exegesis. We talked about modernism, post-modernism, and the ramifications of both. Dr. Cha had some great insights into the forces shaping our culture and has really encouraged us to value and learn from the past. He said during the class that we are a generation that looks to the future for answers, not the past. As Christians, we must look to the past, specifically the Bible, for guidance and spiritual wholeness as well as look to the future with hope in what Christ will do when he returns.
Work: We are all either actively seeking jobs or waiting on offers from where we have worked for these nine months. Exciting updates to follow hopefully about accepted positions and new work opportunities for all of us!
Serve: Our various service projects are still in progress and I have heard some cool stories about how God is working in those. One example is from Austin who serves at a youth ministry down-town called Freedom Fire. Austin had the opportunity to sign with a deaf youth who showed up to the event. God gave Austin the ability to make a kid who otherwise might have felt alone to feel a little more accepted for who he was. What a cool thing! I am having a wonderful time interacting with and teaching the Bhutanese students at Mission Adelante. I especially like the reading and writing sections because I can see the student’s eyes light up when they spell a word right or pronounce a word correctly. God is working so deeply in this mostly Hindu population, and the stories which I hear about family conversions and house churches started through Mission Adelante’s staff are so encouraging and powerful.
Happy Belated birthday to Apryl! Thanks for putting up with all six of us guys. Your insights into God’s character have really blessed all of us Fellows. Thank you to the Rauckman’s for opening up their home for a surprise party for Apryl! Apryl is in the middle of this picture with some of our small group from Christ Community’s Olathe Campus and also her chocolate cake at the other end. How is she ignoring such delicious cake??!!
Also a big thank you to all those who support The Fellows in any form or fashion. We feel very loved and encouraged by all the support we feel from those around us. Many blessings to you and yours!