The New Me and How My Passions Have Changed Me for the Better
I’m not exactly sure how I should start this post out but I wanted to talk about how I changed as a person, particularly my passions, over the last 8 years. I recently imported all my old blog posts from Blogger. And anyone who was around back then would know how bad my writing was. As of now, I can still feel self-conscious about my writing but I have to keep reminding myself how bad it once was.
I was somewhat of a special student at one time. I never stepped foot in a public school with the exception of maybe twice, once for a play, and again for a community auction in my prior town. I was homeschooled K-12 and loved every moment of it. I excelled very well in all areas, I even passed a college entrance exam with fly colors, two years after graduating. The reason for my near bad grammar can be attributed to two things. 1) In high-school, I was having trouble with spelling and since the problem was beyond what my mom could handle, I took tutoring for a semester. It was expensive but ultimately fixed the problems I was having. 2) Since my interests at the time were different, any type of writing was the last thing on my mind. So I was disinterested in anything that would teach me good grammar and my mom decided to focus on the areas I was most invested. Overall, I still think homeschooling a great alternative to public school and I know it was the best route for myself. The way my brained worked would have made public school frustrating and stressful. My mom also believes I would have lost my analytical and unique ways of thinking. It’s just unfortunate I never picked up writing as well as I should have and I regret that since I’m aspiring to be a writer and blogger.
Case in point, I decided to go back and rewrite my old blog posts. I can already say I’ve given each one I’ve done an easy 300% improvement. I’ve even added more details to most that I left out at the time out of sensitivity of the information. While I was reading over my old posts, I realized how many things about myself have changed and by how much they’ve changed. Sure my political and religious views are different today, I knew that. But what has changed that I haven’t noticed is my attitude and my passions.
For example, between the ages of 20 and 24, I was gung-ho about one thing; living in Japan. My interest in Japan started out as early as 2002 — I could be wrong. — and to this day, I’m aware of my interest but it’s slipped to the back-burner out of interest for other things. As my interest in Japan grew, my wish to find my purpose grew too. I can recount the stories I told of my youth, attending Poszest youth group at Christian Life Fellow church in Monee, Illinois. My youth pastor and Dad were often involved in missions trips to Gaugamela and we even had missionaries visit frequently. One such missionary talked about how he had to once eat his own pet monkey because it was biting people. Or I heard people like Michael Rowan — A youth evangelist, now pastoring in Texas. — talk about his mission experiences and how other missionaries were thrown in prison. And it honestly scared the crap out of me.
They talked about how GOD could call anyone of us to the mission field and how we need to be ready. He and others spoke from a dooms-day end-time perspective and how you could be asked to forsake Christ and you need to be ready to accept the consequences of saying no. And worst of all, that I could be called from my comfort zone and asked to serve in the 10/40 window. I tried to convince myself at the time that I could do it if GOD asked but out of all honesty, I probably couldn’t. I was AFRAID!
That’s why once I felt GOD call me to become a missionary in Japan, I had a peace about it and I knew it was something special. Even more so it was interesting to learn that Japan is considered to be in the 10/40 window. I worked for years trying to go and my adventures were up and down. I think my earliest and most successful attempts were in 2008 when I tried volunteering got YWAM. But I quickly ran into a roadblock once it became clear that if I wanted to do this I would have to take YWAM’s Discipleship Training course and it cost upwards of $5,000, not including living expenses. I could have taken the course near Orlando Florida but my heart was Japan, so I wasn’t very interested unless I could do the outreach part of the training in Japan. Today I realize that might not have been the best attitude. I also had the bad outlook for a while that I expected my extended family to help pay the bill. I talked to people and passed out letters asking for their support but in the end, my dad had a talk with me and said that he had family come to him and say they would not support me unless I could prove that I wouldn’t make it to Japan and hate it. That honestly hurt, I was passionate for Japan for so long and now they wanted some sort of proof? I will admit I know it was wrong to expect them to flip the dime and sadly, I had gotten that idea from other people I followed in Japan. One missionary almost literally telling me that my friends and family should flip the dime.
I was seeking Japan at a somewhat bad time in my life. I had just been let go from RadioShack for alleged theft, I quit my dream IT job simply over a dispute with a friend, and Blockbuster was not following through on their promises; likely due to their financial situation. I had been scared from at least two past mistakes and income was not going so well. That is until I got the amazing opportunity to apply for AT&T and I worked so hard to get hired but it took what felt like forever to get there. I applied sometime in February or March and didn’t start training until mid-June. I was so poor by that point, I had to borrow money for gas and a new pair of work boots from my Dad.
I’m going to try to spare you the story of AT&T but it wasn’t exactly the job I would have hoped for. The short of it all was they paid well and just months before I was planning to take a two-week trip to Japan, I was laid off. Took me 6-months to finally live up to it and apply for unemployment. By the time I moved on to working self-employed in the CCTV industry, it had been two-years and I spent my entire Japan fund. Most of it went towards one last attempt to make Japan work by trying to visit a church/pastor in Canada that had strong ties with Japanese outreach. But I’ll also spare you the length of that and leave it at I was denied entry into Canada. — And no, it was not because I had no passport, stop assuming that. — Long story short, I sort of forgot about Japan shortly thereafter. It faded and I went through another phase in my life I don’t want to recount at the moment.
Fast forward to now; I’m 30 years old, married, own my house, living in KC, attending World Revival Church, serving under Pastor Steve and Kathy Gray, and still self-employed. I’m aspiring to become a writer with my very first book in the works. However, I can’t say things are perfect, they are far from perfect. My passions have changed drastically. As of last, I now have more of a passion for Nordic and Dutch cultures. — I’m quarter percent Dutch by the way — But to be honest, my willingness to one day enter the Japanese missions field has not completely died off. Sure, it’s simmering but it’s not dead. In fact, my wife is in Seminary school and I might join her one day soon when finances allow. She’s already talking about becoming a pastor and pastoring a church. She’s even said she’d be open to one day ministering in Japan. I can’t say one way or the other if this was GOD’s plan but it was GOD’s plan. It’s possible I was being prepared to accept it, learn it, or want it. He might have even planned for me to go all those years ago but there might have been a mistake I made that prevented it. No one other than him would know. But one day, one day soon, he could completely surprise me and Japan opens its doors wider than they have ever before. I might even find favor that very few missionaries have ever seen. It’s rather beautiful and I’m ready for what he does next. GOD, you are glorious and mighty, bring it on!