Well, here we are. We are just a couple of short weeks away from the end of 2016. I must say, I didn’t expect my hiatus to last quite as long as it did. When I left you, I had every intention of writing every few weeks while on my adventure in Alaska. Weeks turned into months, Fairbanks turned into Orlando, and I somehow never found the time to update everybody on not only my circumstances, but my mental health and relationship with Christ.
So, here’s what you missed.
My time in Alaska was, by far, the most rewarding and most joyous time of my life. I felt at home, not just in that beautiful state, but with the people I served alongside. My team was amazing. I still think about and miss them daily. I love telling stories of what God did to anyone who will let me. I learned about construction. I built a woodshed for one of the sweetest ladies I have ever met. I sanded a floor for three days straight. I lead worship for students that I will never forget for the rest of my life. I shared the gospel openly and freely and spent many a night crying myself to sleep over the students who simply would not accept Jesus as their own. I climbed mountains, I slept in hammocks, I ate moose, and I praised God in the highs and in the lows. By the time I left, there was nothing in the world that could tear me down. I just knew that God had me there for a reason, and that my move down to Orlando was exactly what He wanted from me.
Now, let’s talk about Orlando.
My heart breaks for this city. Every day, I walk outside and can physically feel the weight in the atmosphere. The oppression here is unbelievable. The anxiety, the depression, and the pain swirling all around me is almost too much to bear. Behind the beautiful curtains of magic and fun is a whole world of people who don’t know where to turn. It’s a new universe of small and almost unnoticeable messages that are completely against the truth of Christ.
I’m not going to sugarcoat my experience. It’s been rough. I came tumbling down from the top of my spiritual mountain faster than I could have ever imagined, and I landed on my rump in a massive pit that feels desolate and impossible to escape. I haven’t talked to God in months, not because I feel abandoned or angry, but simply because I cannot hear him. Every time I try to hear his voice, the only thing coming through is the lies of Satan. I hear nothing but the enemy’s torment, telling me that I am all used up, I’ve already hit my life’s peak, and there’s nowhere to go but down. My attempts at Christian fellowship have resulted in nothing. The bible studies I went to were nothing but surface conversations and for no other purpose than for the speaker to hear themselves talk. The churches I visited would have major theological problems or members who refused to leave their circles for even two minutes to ask me my name or sit with me so I wouldn’t be alone. I haven’t felt true peace in I don’t even know how long, and I’ve gotten to the point of just being desperate to hear ANYTHING from God.
Until last night, I have been ashamed of these feeling and the spiritual desert I have found myself in. I have told nobody of these things, fearing that my entire ministry up until this point would be reduced to dust and that I will no longer have even the slimmest hope of a future that has true meaning. But I realized something, and it’s given me more hope than I’ve had in a long while. And it’s the fact that now I can remember what it feels like to be hopeless without Christ. I get it. The atmosphere here is so suffocating because it is lacking the love and assurance that comes from him. This is what it feels like when we allow Satan to run rampant in our lives and control our actions and thoughts. This is what it is like to be dying, desperate, and alone. I am reminded of my cause, and all it does is give me a stronger desire to show the entire world of people who feel this way that it doesn’t have to be like this.
The hold on this city will NOT last forever. In fact, I believe that soon, and very soon, there will be a shift in the dynamic of beliefs and that hundreds, no, thousands of people here will finally see the light that they have been searching for since the day that they were born. God is not finished, with me or with anybody else, and he is going to pursue the hearts of those in anguish with stronger force than ever before. I ask you, dear brothers and sisters, to be in prayer with me for the people who are about to encounter God in ways that are simply undeniable. Pray that his presence would be unavoidable for these people. Pray that stubbornness and pride would vanish from their hearts, and that no power of hell will be able to stop the movement that is about to begin.