I've been attending Ventura Missionary Church for over 16 years. Ventura MISSIONARY Church. It's in the name, and yet all I was doing was sitting in a pew getting my fill. Sitting in the same row week after week with the same sweet people surrounding me, perfectly comfortable...until I wasn't.
The pastor had just finished a sermon, on what I couldn't tell you. But then he asked the congregation to stand if we would be willing to do one thing for him in the next six months, one simple thing. Place a phone call, ask a question and inquire about a mission trip. We didn't have to commit to going, just commit to inquire. It was just one phone call, right? I could do that. So I stood, in the house of God and said sure, I'll look into it. Months later during the holiday season my 17 year old brother asked for a passport for Christmas. A passport? What does he need a passport for? Well, he'd decided to go to Haiti with the church. What! My little brother going to Haiti? Well, if he can do it, I can do it, right? After all, I did promise to at least look into it. My brother never ended up going, but the Lord used him and my pastor to get me there.
Haiti was an experience I will never forget. I had never felt the presence of the Lord so powerfully. The work He was doing there, it was amazing. Though it was a short 10-day trip, I came home so much more in love with the Lord. On our last night there one of the full time missionaries, Rebecca, had all of us short-term missionaries sit on the front porch for a debriefing. She went over some of the common and natural feelings we might encounter when we got home. She said it is normal for some to feel guilt coming home to America where we have so much. Often times when people come home from short-term trips they want to sell all of their stuff and run straight back out to the mission field. Rebecca advised us not to make any hasty decisions. Our group also went around and shared some of our favorite and least favorite moments of the trip. I was surprised when my Mom shared. Through tears she told us how she was scared because she could see it in my face, the way my eyes lit up, how happy and alive I was that past week, that this is something I wanted to do. I hadn't even realized it yet, but she was right.
Now that I was home, back to the same job that I had been doing for close to 15 years, back to that same pew I'd been sitting in every Sunday, back to everything I was used to, I was no longer comfortable. My job no longer made sense to me. I'm in property management, and arguing over a $75 late fee because they brought their rent in a day after it was due just seemed unimportant. Sitting in my row at church, I was no longer getting my fill. My life felt empty and meaningless. The things that used to be comfortable to me, no longer were. That's when the Lord asked me to step out of my comfort zone. He wanted so much more for me. More than the awesome job He had blessed me with. More than the cute apartment He had provided for me. More than the amazing church He let me be a part of. He wants more for me and more from me. He wants me to start living a life worth living. He wants me to experience love, be open to receiving it as well as giving it. He wants me to explore the world and meet His children and experience adventure. He wants me to try new things. He wants me to be brave and courageous. He wants me to trust Him and allow Him to lead me down a path full of love and life. He wants me to step out of all the places I have gotten used to, to live a life full of love and life and light. To leave all the comforts that aren't really even comfortable anymore to experience Him. He wants me to go on The World Race.
Sherry French leaves for The World Race in August. The World Race is an 11 month Christian mission trip to 11 countries around the world. It's not only a mission trip, but also an intensive discipleship program designed to launch a generation. into a specific kingdom calling. Through it, racers partner with churches and ministries in local communities to preach the Gospel, plant churches, work in orphanages, minister to women and children trapped in human trafficking and bring the restorative hope of God's love to many tribes and nations. For more information or to support Sherry, visit sherryfrench.theworldrace.org.