Giving Up the American Dream: From TV News Anchor to Missionary
I still remember the moment my heart changed. Stephen Covey calls it a "paradigm shift." It's when we change the way we perceive or understand the world around us.
For me, it was my first day in Haiti. We were in church - but it wasn't like any church I'd ever been to. From the very beginning, I sensed that something special was about to happen.
The benches were crude - homemade. Walls were non existent. The roof was held up by sticks. The floor was dirt. Chickens danced around our feet. Goats lifted their voices along with ours in praise, and about midway through, a cow joined in the service.
But the scene was breathtaking. Not just the mountains and the blue sky in the distance, but what was happening in that sacred space. People sang out from deep in their souls. There was a hunger in the room - a deep need for closeness to their Creator. In the midst of the severest poverty and brokenness, there was a spiritual wealth I had never experienced before. The air was so thick, so saturated with the Holy Spirit that you could literally feel it.
I left on my first mission trip ready to change the world. But nothing could prepare me for how the world would change me.
"Sometimes, something touches your heart so deeply that doing nothing isn't an option anymore and it becomes more about finding a way than it does about finding excuses." - Bethany Haley Williams
I'm not sure what I expected to happen on that trip. I think I had in mind something like going to the country, giving some much needed help, and leaving relatively unscathed. I had no idea that two short years later, I would be putting everything else in my life aside to pursue this full time.
Some people may not understand why I want to give up the life I have. Why I would want to give up comfort, status and recognition. Why I would want to give up a career I worked so hard for - right when I am seeing the hard work pay off.
Because no matter how "nice" those things may be, they are meaningless when compared to God's plan for my life. I no longer want to be comfortable. I want to be stretched - taken out of my comfort zone - placed in the areas where there is the most desperate need - in order to let God do his work through me. It's radical but that's what I crave. Now that I've gotten a taste of it, I can't imagine not surrendering wholly to God. Anything else, any other path falls short.
“If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.” - C.S. Lewis
That week in Haiti, we worked with orphans who lived in the street, men and women who were dying of AIDS, children in the hospital with unimaginable burns.
When you hear of these things happening in what seems a world away, it affects you on some level. But when you hold those people in your arms and know them by name, it's a whole new ballgame. Not doing anything isn't good enough. Giving only part of myself isn't enough anymore. For me, I eventually realized that going on one trip a year wasn't going to cut it.
So - I'll go. My journey will start with 11 different countries in 11 months. From there, I'll follow where God leads.
And along the way, I'll be sharing that journey with you through this blog. I hope you'll join me.
Anchoring "Daybreak" with Randy Moore, one of the best in the business.
Derby with our meteorologist, Jude Redfield.
My team with Visiting Orphans on my first mission trip to Haiti.
Meeting Vilanio for the first time - a little boy who changed my life.
Frenaldo - a little boy who never left my side, and I never his.