I have never done anything like this before. I have never published my thoughts, I have never put 1,426 miles between myself and my family for four months, and I have certainly never worked, lived, nor been to an island as remote as Isle Royale National Park.
You always hear the expression "never say never," but what about when looking into the past? I had never successfully rode a bike until my older brother trickily loosened the training wheels on my tricycle and I went flying into our grandparents' bushes. I never would have scored a goal in soccer unless my mom relentlessly pushed and encouraged me to not mind the judgements that fed the sidelines but to instead focus on my team and the ball between my feet. I never would have applied to be an ACMNP team member if it weren't for the friend who strengthened my courage and galvanized my spirits.
Jeremiah 29:12 reads, "then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you."
In applying for A Christian Ministry in the National Parks I'll be honest that I wasn't entirely sure what I was getting myself into (I probably still don't have a full-encompassing idea), but I can already tell that it's going to be huge. I've always done much better with one-on-one personable conversations than dealt with a crowd, but when I first heard that this summer job will have me ministering to complete strangers in a national park, it took me a moment -- or two -- before I allowed my nerves to transition to prayer.
"You will call on me and come and pray to me"
Jesus yearns for my prayers like I yearn for His presence. He doesn't ask me to converse with Him if I feel like it or if perhaps I have the time, but He tells me that I will. He is confidant in me. So why can't I be confidant in myself?
"I will listen to you."
I am not alone. I may be the only person assigned to my park thus far, but I am not alone. This summer and this life has nothing to do with me and my wants but everything to do with Jesus Christ. In my times of sorrow or uncertainty or joy or exaltation, He is with me and ready to listen. I am ready. I am ready to travel from Florida to Michigan for nearly four straight months and to explore the 45 miles of Isle Royale National Park. I am ready to be the hands and feet of whatever it is God is calling me to do this summer. I am ready because I am not alone. He has confidence in me and so I have confidence in myself.
If it weren't for all those past nevers I would not be the person I am right now. I am able to sit atop a bike, shoot a ball into a guarded net, and fly across the country because I didn't let the fear of inexperience hold be back.
Isle Royale, here I come!