Jen’s Story

I am not yet who I am meant to be, but I am not who I once was…

My parents were both born in Puerto Rico, moved to Boston in the 60’s, met, were married and had 3 children; yours truly is the youngest. As the youngest it was my right to make my older siblings’ life…difficult. So, when I discovered my sister was going to a local church where she was having fun and making friends, I persuaded (aka whined until I got my way) my mother to make my sister take me with her.

I had been going to church with my sister for a while, having fun and making friends, but never making a clear commitment to follow Christ as my Savior or even feeling the need to do so. Until one Sunday morning, I heard a clear voice telling me that it was time to make a decision because I would be needing Him soon. It was April 14, 1991. I was 13 years old. I clearly remember the date because it was a little over a year later in July 1992, my otherwise healthy mother died of cancer. She had been diagnosed only 6 months earlier. Her death was difficult for all of of us, but there was some comfort in knowing that before she passed away she had made the decision to also follow Christ.

The next few years were hard. Although loving and desired to do well, my father’s heart was quite broken and wasn’t able to properly care for a teenager which caused some tension and animosity between us. Because of this, I grew slightly too independent. After a failed attempt to go to college, I and my boyfriend at the time, decided to move to Florida.

There, I began a new life; had Jake, got married, got divorced all without ever consulting God and His will for my life. After a string of bad decisions, the Lord called me back to him in 2005. He revealed to me things in my past He had kept hidden from me until I was able to handle knowing them. During this time, I still made some bad choices, but I was growing closer to the Lord and to the path He had for my life.

In 2010, I wanted to take my relationship with the Lord to a “new level” and I thought a mission trip would help me do that. After some internal conflict of where to go, I chose to go to Guatemala. My first trip to Guatemala was in July of 2010 and because of God’s grace and the generosity of others, I have been able to go every 6 months since then. All, with the exception of 1 which was an 8 week-long trip with Jake, have been a week or 2. Every trip, my heart grows more in love with the country, the people and the Lord.

During the 8 week summer trip, Jake and I met a team from Thomasville, Alabama. Since I was one of their translators Jake and I grew quite close to them and before the week was over, Jake said he felt the Lord telling him we were to move to Thomasville when we returned to the States. This was not something I was in agreement with at first,  but a month after we returned to the States, Labor Day weekend of 2012, we moved to Thomasville, AL.

The town is a small town and we are faced with lots we have not been faced with before. Some good like close-knit church family, loving people who are willing to help, an environment that serving your neighbor is invited. And some not so good; nosy neighbors (everyone is your neighbor here), racism and segregation (it’s like travelling back in time 40 years).

Jake and I are definitely settling in and making it a home for us as we feel we will be here until Jake graduates from high school (2017). We pray that during our time here, we both can grow in our relationship in the Lord and towards the goals and ministries He desires us to be in. We understand that Thomasville isn’t the end for us, but more like a beginning, because in this small town, we are learning so much about ourselves, the world and the Lord. Our prayer is that we are able to bring glory to God the Father and further the Kingdom of Jesus Christ through our lives, actions and even our imperfections.

The Story continues…

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