Changed By God’s Love – Guest Blog

I was born with Dextrocardia and spent the first 18 months of my life in the hospital. During that time, I had two of four heart surgeries. Even after being discharged I was still on oxygen until four years of age, when I had my third heart surgery. Each year I grew stronger, and consistently exceeded the doctors’ expectations. God completed my physical miracle when I had my last heart surgery in the fifth grade!

I did well in high school, started college, moved to Georgia, and became a law enforcement officer. On the outside it seemed like I was accomplishing all my goals; and I was. However, I still knew deep inside that God wanted me to serve in a greater capacity. I just had no idea what that entailed or how to go about figuring it out.

It never crossed my mind that missions was the greater plan until I saw a video of my cousin, Callie, who had been traveling to Ethiopia with Ordinary Hero. In the video Callie told a family in need that she was going to sponsor them. Their level of gratitude had me in tears and I immediately decided I was going to Ethiopia. I began to trust God to move mountains for the trials to come, which included getting time off at work and raising the funds for the trip. After waiting two weeks, I finally got the approval for time off and it was officially going to happen.

I was very excited about my first missions trip and I thought I was prepared. I went to be a blessing, however, I soon realized that God was blessing me with even more of His love. The whole trip was very exciting, but my absolute favorite part of each day was sharing the love of God with everyone we encountered! As a result of my trip, I am now sponsoring two families, which helps supply them with basic necessities. These are things most of us here in the U.S. take for granted including: a 50-pound bag of teff (which is like our millet or quinoa), clean water, a tarp to cover their roof, medical treatment, and the funds to pay for their children to go to school. I now rest at night knowing I get to provide the necessities of life to these two beautiful families that were in need.

 

 

My Uncle Vasco was a missionary in Haiti and built many churches there. God called him to Heaven the day I left for Ethiopia, and though difficult to navigate the emotions during such a big trip, God used it to birth something new in me as I reflected on his life.

When I got back from Ethiopia, after my first night back at work, I knew my sole purpose in life was to become a missionary: to show the love of God to others and to share the story of Jesus with the world. I prayed and asked God to show me the path I needed to take. I took a leap of faith and turned in my resignation at the police department, while simultaneously applying for seminary school at Christ for the Nations in Texas to study Global Missions. God has blessed me with a job where I now have more family time, time to myself, and time with God. Since taking that leap of faith and trusting God with a brand new plan for my life, I have seen God moving mountains.

I have lived my entire life constantly reminded of Philippians 4:13 which says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

I am more than excited to return to Ethiopia in December 2018, and I look forward to what God has in store for our upcoming trip!

3 thoughts on “Changed By God’s Love – Guest Blog

  1. So very proud of you Stephen. God loves it when we trust Him with our lives and, in today’s world that can be a difficult choice to make. Live a lie that makes that the only option and please keep me posted on your plans for future trips. On my first mission trip to Jamaica
    your mom gave me$400 deposit. You have a special place in my heart.please include me in whatever u decide to do.
    Jackie Martin -ZZs sister

  2. Your story is so inspiring! I, too, know the joy of sponsoring a little girl in Thailand and ask God to help me sponsor more. Praying for further revelation on our Dec 2018 trip!

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