About two years ago, I was told I would not be allowed to graduate University due to insufficient credits despite the extra courses I took every semester. My plans of going to grad school brokedown. While I sat in uncertainty, I was invited to apply for an internship with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. My plan had been academics not ministry, but my doubt in that plan was huge. So I took a chance. The day I sent in my application to the internship I received an email from my university. They apologizing for a mishap, and I could graduate as planned after all.
I had never been to Vancouver until I made an eight month commitment to ECUAD and Langara College. As I’ve settled into East Vancouver over the past two years, and I have experienced the goodness of God and personal renewal.
I was at a conference last Christmas called Urbana, where thousands of students from around the world worshiped and studied Revelation together. One night in worship, I confessed to God that I felt lost. I was uncertain of how I could be used for that undefined “kingdom work.” An answer came from Revelation 13:14-21. In this passage Jesus, the true and faithful witness, tells the church in Laodicea to be earnest and repent, not to live in lukewarm faith. This verse means many things, but in that moment I felt God speaking to me in my indecision, to me as a campus minister, to me as a grad school student. My revelation was that Jesus was asking for my earnest faith in him. He invited me to imitate him as a “faithful witness” no matter my situation.
In pursuit of that invitation, I decided to stay in Vancouver. I moved in with three other women I interned with. Our decision to stay was driven by the desire to discover what it is like to live missionally while not doing “missions.” We have strived to be transparent about our faith with our neighbours, and intentionally form relationships that include invitation into our community. Our house is designed around being a safe space for those who need it. Already we have had chances to welcome people into our home and pray with those who need support. The little community in my home shares a common motivation to live missionally, which has helped me build new relationships and be vulnerable with what I have seen God do.
I am still learning what it means to be faithful when I am tired, lacking resources, or too busy to sit with my roommates and pray. But God has been faithful himself in providing for us while we figure it out. We all have seen favour in our jobs. We have been blessed with a house and home beyond our expectations—it is comfortably located between all our communities. God has been building a story in me that will remind me to be faithful in the future. I have learned that faith is a choice despite circumstance—an opportunity to see what God is going to do.
Jesus said, “To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne” (Rev 13:21). God renewed my vision of victory. It’s not getting into grad school right after my undergrad. It isn’t forming relationships with my neighbours perfectly in the first week. Victory was not as expected for Jesus either. It included death not political uprising. It involved emptying not grasping at power. It involved serving not being served. I am growing in awareness of what victory looks like in God’s world and how I can be apart of it. I love learning what it looks like to be a faithful witness with my church and community all around me. I anticipate more renewal in the year to come, because Jesus is our faithful witness.