Sunday, September 20, 2009

What can God do in 2 years?

It has been two years and five months since we have lived abroad. After we graduated college we were jobless and homeless traveling for a year. Our travels took us to an orphanage in Trujillo Peru for three life-changing months. After returning to the States in March 2007 we settled in Colorado Springs, CO where Adam worked on his Masters in counseling, and I became... the cable girl. You see, back in Peru God did an amazing work in me. Just read back through the beginning of my blog and you'll understand what I am talking about. Working in an orphanage I thought I could paint, cook, clean, build things, and help with agriculture. However, I can remember our first day at Hogar de Esperanza when Sarita held out little Jose David to me and said, "baby?" in Spanish with a smile. I just shook my head no and used all the Spanish I knew to tell her that I am not ready and don't know what to do with him. Then began God's work and my journey learning to love children. I was sent to work in a house with 12 boys while Adam, the one who is a natural with kids, was sent to paint and build bikes! Now jump down to the last blog post in Trujillo and you will see that I became quite attached to those 12 and had a hard time saying goodbye.

It was while I was at Hogar de Esperanza that I made a decision to always live for something greater than myself, and to always work for a greater cause. Something that will make a difference in the world and in the life of a child. In February 2007 I began applying for a job at Compassion International (CI). I was certain this is where I was going to work. Unfortunately after applying to numerous openings at CI and not getting any response, I became discouraged. We moved back to the Sates from Peru and found our home in Colorado Springs. I continued to pursue CI for employment. Ray, a good friend lead me on to a job opening with Comcast for Direct Sales. I applied and was instantly hired, going door-to-door and performing installs; thus becoming the "cable girl." Adam worked diligently on his Masters and I brought home a very comfortable income. I convinced myself it was "paid schooling" for learning direct sales and I loved the financial freedom. We could do anything, but I quickly became very unsatisfied. There were very little ethics and morals among my fellow employees and the occasional shady person during my installs. I worked for Comcast for over five months and all the while continued to pursue anyone I knew from CI and other job postings. One day I came home in tears after my installs. Adam and I prayed about my job, CI, and realized Comcast was not where God wanted me. On October 31, 2007 we surrendered the large paycheck and stepped out in faith as I quit Comcast and applied for On-call work at CI. The next day I got a call to come interview and on November 5, 2007 walked into CI as a Temp employee with the Development Marketing team. Even more incredible, this job ensured steady 40 hrs a week and provided what we needed financially to survive.

I cannot explain what an amazing environment CI has. I absolutely loved going into work every day. CI quickly felt like home to me. It is a place of integrity, compassion, love, faithfulness, encouragement, and made up of incredible people who desire to make a difference in the life of a child. It is while I was employed there that I witnessed the true Christan community.

In March 2008 I began to suffer serious headaches, difficulty breathing, and major back pain. This progressed throughout the month, and since I was uninsured I did not seek medical attention. While Adam was in New Mexico I woke up unable to move or breathe, only finding the slightest comfort sleeping cross legged and bent over. That morning I went straight in to see the chiropractor, thinking a rib was out of place and jabbing me in the lung. After adjustment I went into work. I had about three hours of relief until a friend and co-worker found me blue, hunched over and unable to breathe, and with tears running down my face. I was rushed to the hospital. I was diagnosed with blood clots in my lungs. Strange since I am young, healthy, active, don't smoke, and no family history of this. The clots had formed in my legs, passed through my heart, and my lungs acted as the filter before moving to my brain. I was given shots in my stomach, the most painful treatment I've ever experienced. I was terrified and totally dependant on God.

Now, this really is a long story so let me try sum it up as best I can! At this time my family was facing some very difficult challenges. I remember my mom telling me she missed being happy and having peace. I deeply desired to share with my mom the peace and joy I know in Christ. While I was in the hospital she came to see me and during this time, there was no greater testimony of my faith than what was displayed by the incredible Christian community at Compassion and my church. I was showered with love, prayers, flowers, gifts, and food as my team from CI brought me and my family a meal every night while I was recovering. I was overwhelmed by all the love and support I received from these incredible people. Mom started to attend church with me and quickly found a home church in California. Let me highlight some other miracles during this time:

My medical bills without insurance totaled over $20,000, but in the end I was actually paid $47 to go to the hospital after receiving the help of programs and my Christian community.
I got off my blood thinning medication (rat poison) 6 months earlier than expected.
I am completely healthy and healed.
God’s peace and joy has come to my mom.
There are many other incredible things that was a result from my illness and many more details. However, those are the highlights.

In October 2008, I was hired on permanent and full time with CI as an Event Marketing Specialist. I had an amazing team that I quickly became very attached to. In this job position I had the special opportunity to spend quality time with former sponsored children and Leadership Development Program students. I would get lost in their stories. They had a contagious passion for the Lord. I could go on about this particular job with Compassion, but that would be a whole other blog post! I am very blessed to have had the opportunity to work at such an amazing organization and serve in this role. I will miss it deeply.

Also during Fall 2008 we welcomed a very special young man into our home, Bruno, a foreign exchange student from Brazil. It was on a Wednesday when Adam and I discussed how we would love to host an exchange student in the "future". That Friday Adam had an interview at a local high school for his counseling internship. Needless to say they liked Adam so much they offered him the internship AND a student! Although we thought the 'future' would be a little farther out, Bruno was a special addition to our family. We later visited him and his family in Brazil in July 2009.

In December 2008, as Adam's Masters program was coming to a close, we learned of international counseling opportunities. Having a desire to travel and return to South America we decided to put the word out about our interest in international work. After sending out his resume, cover letter, and desire to work internationally, Adam got a reply from Quality Schools International about available jobs in Ukraine and Georgia (the country). Wait..... ummm Ukraine and Georgia? That's not South America. I wasn't even sure where Ukraine was on a map! The director of the school happened to be in Denver for a weekend and asked to meet with us. Although Adam and I had little desire to travel to Ukraine or a country that recently was bombed, we decided to go to the interview to learn more about international work. On our way we prayed that God would change our hearts if this was what he wanted for us. What was supposed to be a 30 minute interview turned into a 3 hour interview as we spoke with the director about qualifications and life. By the time we drove home from Denver (a 40 minute drive) we received a call with a job offer for Kiev Ukraine.

Now for the back story on this. I was supposed to get my resume in months before the interview took place. I never turned it in. However, I loved my job at Compassion and never felt like I was 'looking' for a job. But, because QSI prefers to hire couples they requested my application as well. Our interview was on Sunday and scheduled for right after I flew home from Houston. I was at a youth event for work that weekend and planned to go straight from the airport to my sister's house to shower, change to professional clothing, print my resume, and get ready to meet QSI. However, things don't always work out as planned. I missed my plane and as a result came in to Denver 2 hours later than expected. Just in time to drive from the airport to the interview. I told Adam we should just cancel, we didn't want to go to Ukraine anyway. There was no way we would move there. Adam talked me into going just to learn about what an opportunity like this would look like. Along the way I told Adam, "You know if they offer us a position God really wants us there." I thought I would ruin it for both of us. In my business oriented mind never would we get hired since I was late, without resume (that was due over a month ago), and wearing casual clothing and dirty jeans!

I hope that through this summary of the last two years you can see God's hand print on our lives. Although our time in Colorado Springs was a very special two years, God has called us to a new adventure and new ministry. In February 2009 Adam accepted the position as Secondary Counselor at Kiev International School. As we said good bye to friends, work, and family we also said good bye to everything we owned. We sold everything and left for Kiev, Ukraine with four bags of clothes and our dog. I'd like to say our theme verse was this: Luke 18:22. I encourage your to look it up. (And in case you are wondering, we did give to the poor.)

Now before I sign off of this post, I would like to leave you with a challenge. I challenge all of you, do not simply exist. Find a way to truly live. God is calling you into a life of love and purpose. My most valuable lesson these past two years has been that out of my greatest times of trial and pain have I received my greatest blessings on my life.

Until next time, peace and joy!


mom said...

Kristen, you and Adam are a blessing to us and anyone who comes in contact with you. What a wonderful story of what God has provided, when only you seek.

manycoloured-days said...

I am so glad I found your blog:) you're so young but such an inspiration!