Gabe and Krista,
Ava, Karsyn, & Blakeley
From: Berne, Indiana
Arrived in the Dominican: May 12, 2015
Current Financial Support Level: 96%
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Freedom International Ministries, Inc.
2905 E 46th Street
Indianapolis, IN 46205
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I grew up in a Christian home. My parents dedicated me to God when I was an infant and raised me to love and fear God. I remember one Sunday night after getting home from church asking my mom to help me ask Jesus into my heart. I was always involved in the church's youth program where we did daily devotions.
I continued going to church and living the "Christian" life but never took it very seriously. I was never a troublemaker, but I also wasn't on fire for God. I rarely looked at my Bible between Sundays and really took my upbringing for granted. If you were to ask me about my assurance of being heaven bound, I would have said I was definitely going. Looking back now, I'm not so sure where I stood.
I wasn't until my oldest daughter Ava was born that I really started questioning my faith, and why I believed what I believed. It has been a journey since that time. Joining a bible study just after we married really helped my relationship in Christ grow. For the longest time, I fell into legalism and thought that I was obligated to do things for God. Once I learned the true meaning of God's grace, a sense of ease fell over me. No longer were my good works an obligation to get to heaven, but instead, they were a byproduct of God's outpouring of grace in my life.
I have never been so in love with my Savior and friend. Over the past couple of years, God has been softening my heart, to the point of tears, for the less fortunate children and the unsaved. Wherever God leads me, I want to serve Him with every part of my life.
I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior at the young age of 5. I grew up in a Christian home with wonderful Christian parents. I grew up loving the Lord and wanting to serve Him, but one thing always held me back... fear.
For as long as I can remember, fear and anxiety have played a major role in my life. I worried about anything you could ever imagine. I worried about being called to another country and leaving everything and everyone I knew and loved behind. I worried whether I was a "good enough" Christian, and I worried about being accepted by others. I worried about getting sick and dying. You name it, I've worried about it. I knew I loved God and wanted to serve Him... I just had limitations. I put up walls and wasn't really willing to step outside of them. I gave God stipulations when offering Him my whole heart. "Lord, I'll do whatever you call me to do... just don't make me do this or go there." I was afraid that if I surrendered everything I had, God would call me to do something I just knew I couldn't handle. I had one foot in with God and one foot in with myself. I pursued security away from God, and the more I did that, the more insecure I became. I relied on the praises of people to build me up and found a weird comfort in worrying. If I wasn't worrying, it felt abnormal. Fear had become so much a part of my life that I didn't even recognize it anymore.
Gabe and I joined a couples Bible Study shortly after we were married and that's when I felt my life begin to change. Several girls in this study really challenged me to live my life out of faith, not fear. I saw such freedom and joy in their lives. I had lived for years with what felt like the weight of the world on my shoulders, and I was exhausted. Through several studies we did, with my husband's encouragement, (He's the complete opposite of me, he doesn't worry about anything!) and by the power of the Holy Spirit, I slowly began letting go of my fears and laying them at the feet of Jesus. During this time, I also watched a friend go through a very difficult situation, one that I had spent countless night up worrying about. But she faced it with such courage and hope in her Lord Jesus Christ. That's when it hit me. I was wasting my life away worrying about what might happen, and it was a reality for her, but here she was living her life to the fullest. A life full of joy and peace.
During this time, I was sitting at my dining room table doing devotions, and I finally broke down. I couldn't handle the stress that fear had been putting on my shoulders for so many years. I was living my life in the "what if" instead of enjoying the "right now." I was trying to control my own life. I closed my eyes and said, "Lord my life is yours... completely!" I didn't follow that sentence with "just don't make me do this or that" as I had in the past. I just stopped at, "My life is Yours." I surrendered the control I thought I had over my life to God. What a huge relief that was! I couldn't change one thing.