Decision-making in the Presence of God

The school year is coming to a close. Students are deciding what they will be doing during the summer. Regina, a graduate of the University of California–Davis, thought she might participate in an InterVarsity Global Project in East Asia. God brought her to the point of considering this program and then guided her to her final decision. In the following selection, Regina relates the process in her own words.

“I graduated in the summer of 2007 and started a job on a local newspaper. On February 29, 2008 my editor called me in and said the paper was losing money and could not afford to keep me. So, at the ripe age of 23, I began drawing unemployment compensation.

“At first I was depressed, but after a while I began to get excited to see what God would bring next. I learned about a new Global Project (GP) in East Asia and thought the loss of my job might be God’s plan to get me to that country, not just for the GP, but to stay on and work, using my foreign language skills. This tapped into my father’s dream for me that one day I would get into University of California–Berkeley graduate school in East Asian Studies. Spending a year overseas would definitely polish my resume for Berkeley.

“I talked this out with Fred Wagner, the GP director, and at the end of the phone call he prayed for me that God would give me a love for the people of this area of the world. God began to answer his prayer as I gradually began to think of my motives for wanting to go on this trip. Did I really love the people, or was I just in love with my well-planned future? Then, last weekend I had an experience that further changed my thinking.

“I participated in Journey to Mosaic, a four-day bus trip sponsored by my church. We were paired with someone of another ethnicity and traveled from Oakland to the California Central Valley and then to Los Angeles. At each stop we immersed ourselves in the history of Latinos, African-Americans, Native Americans, or Asian-Americans, and discussed the role of the Church within these people groups.

“The experience was earth-shattering. Two years before I had participated in a five-week InterVarsity Urban Project. We spent time in the inner city seeing the depth of poverty that exists right at our own backdoor. I ended up feeling disillusioned, powerless to address the divisions of race and cycles of poverty, and disappointed in the absence of the Church from these issues.

“But Journey to Mosaic changed everything. I met a bus-load of Christians serious about the plight of the poor and oppressed, and striving to live out Jesus’ teachings on those issues. We connected with agencies who were putting faith into action. My disillusionment was being overcome by a rush of hopefulness. I now have a strong desire to get involved in expressing God’s heart for the poor.

“Now I’m at a crossroad. My interest to go to East Asia is receding, replaced by the desire to spend two years working with an inner city ministry. Frankly, I’m a little scared to talk to my parents.”

The comments continue a few days later:

“I spoke to my parents and I can’t believe what God has done. My father told me that I’m only young once, so I should go ahead and work in the inner city for couple of years. I’m excited to see where God will lead me during the next two years.”

Fred Wagner was interested to see who would be on the team that he was taking on the GP to East Asia. He thought that Regina would be a great addition to the team, particularly with her language skills. But, as he says, “As we pore over GP applications our sovereign God has plans for these students, and we can’t always discern what he is doing.”