I'M WRITING TO ANNOUNCE...
that i'm a part of the Mission Year 2014-2015 Philadelphia Sports Team!
I want to love God and love people.
Okay, so a lot of you know that I was for lack of a better term (I don’t particularly like super churchy terms) “saved” in August and I got baptized in September. Since then my life has changed drastically. I can’t even explain it and I’m sure it doesn’t make since to anyone on the outside looking in. I called myself a Christian before all this but like in Romans 2:28-29 when Paul writes:
"A man is not a Jew if he is only one outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. No, a man is a Jew if he is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a man's praise is not from men, but from God" (Romans 2:28-29)
Prior to August 29,2013- I was the same as the man Paul was speaking of. My heart was not “circumcised”. I professed to believe in God, but it was only outwardly. My heart was hard and I was only concerned with glorifying and gratifying myself. Since then, I truly believe God has “circumcised” my heart and rocked my world. I read the Irresistible Revolution by Shane Claiborne and was immediately drawn to the idea of living in intentional community. I started googling and looking up everything about it and I found this program called Mission Year where you live in an urban neighborhood for a year and volunteer and worship God. You also live in INTENTIONAL COMMUNITY with your team. Even better they have a team specifically for people who are passionate about sports and it incorporates sports into your life that year. I was like, dang that’s so cool. I would have a second chance to glorify God using my ability and passion for sports that I wasted for all of those years. But at first looking at it, I was like uhhhh NO WAY that’s too long, we have to live TOO simply, and in a ROUGH neighborhood maybe I’ll just do a little mission trip for like a week or so and see what that’s like. It just kept coming back up though and I thought about it all the time. I couldn’t get it out of my head. The whole idea scared me to death, but I once read somewhere that if something scares you it might be a good thing to try. I just kept kind of second guessing myself like is God really putting this on my heart, like how can I really know? He hasn’t whispered in my ear, “Ashley apply for Mission Year, for it is my plan for you” so like how could I really be sure. Then I watched this super convicting video of Francis Chan when he’s talking about figuring out God’s plan for you and how people keep waiting and waiting to be sure. Then he was saying, but do we do that when it comes to things we do for ourselves, like shopping or going to the movies? Like did I think as hard about whether or not it was really in God’s plan for me to lay in bed watching every season of 90210 on Netflix? Um no I didn’t. I jumped all over that without even a second thought. Ouch, yeah that kinda hurt. Anyways, I was like okay yeah God you got me buddy. So I go and apply for Mission Year and by this time as scared as I was and even with all my reservations, I’m getting pretty excited about it and really wanting to do this. I mean at this point I didn’t have a lot to stay in Franklin for- All my friends had pretty much ditched me thinking I’m like this Jesus Freak now so they aren’t really wanting to hang out with me because I’m not near as much fun to them and the life of the party when I’m not completely trashed, so I’m just like God you know what’s best if I get in this thing then it’s where you want me. And I got in. On the Sports TeamJ in Philadelphia. So yay, that’s great now I have to tell my boss. That’s DEFF NOT gonna be so great. L This is the job I thought I’m going to be at for the rest of my life, my boss has spent a lot of time and money training me and one of our escrow officer’s just quit so we’re short-handed as it is and now I’ve gotta break the news to him that I’m going on a nine month mission trip basically. And if you knew my boss you would have dreaded telling him too. He does NOT handle change good. Part of me wanted to wait until 2 weeks before I left and just put my notice in and be like see ya, but I knew that wasn’t the right thing to do. So at our annual meetings where we discuss our performance and areas we need to improve in, I decided to break the news to him. First of all, I declined a raise (like who even does that?!?) and I told him that I had decided to do Mission Year and I would be gone for 9 months but I wasn’t leaving until September and I would help everyone and make sure they knew how to handle EVERYTHING that was my responsibility so things would continue to run smoothly in my absence. Also, I asked if there would be a spot for me when I came back. I told him I would be willing to do anything and just basically fit in where I could get in and whatever salary or hourly pay the company could afford, but understandably I was told that he couldn’t promise that. That’s all fine and good, but then he said I think we’re done here and walked out of the meeting and left work and hasn’t said a word to me since. He is very diligently ignoring me and is doing a great job of it. At first, I was just hurt and angry because I don’t feel like I deserved this. I try to do the right thing and this is what I get. So I’m throwing a pity party for myself, but with the help of Mitch and Toby I’m finally able to realize that I’m beyond blessed that I even have a job right now. To further my conviction, last night at Awana Skip did a presentation and talked about his time in Afghanistan and he mentioned that they can’t even admit they are Christians and talk openly about God over there because they would be stoned. Geez…ouch again God, I forget how much of a spoiled brat I am a lot of the time.
Then here I am complaining to Mitch about how scared I am to begin fundraising. Just like in the song by MercyMe in the song “In the Blink of an Eye” the lyrics say “How can I further your kingdom when I’m so wrapped up in mine”…I clearly can’t afford to pull my debit card out and pay my living expenses for MissionYear and here I am too afraid to ask anyone for help. Only concerned about myself and my fears, once again…I know, I know- I see the pattern too, I’M SELFISH AND A SPOILED BRAT, like I said before. Then Mitch shows me Hebrews 13:6, “So we can say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me?”
It’s not like I’m gonna be stoned for asking for donations and prayers. And thanks to technology, I’m able to do this through social media so it’s not even face to face rejection. And I’m still terrified. But thankfully, I woke up today with a much better perspective on things. When I focus on my God and his purpose and plans for me and re-read the card my momma got me with Jeremiah 29:11 on the front, “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope”, I can see the trials and my fears all the more clearly for what they are…VERY MINOR. So, here I am facing my fears and beginning my fundraising, so if you would like to help me out I would be eternally grateful for your help and will even send you an exciting monthly newsletter about what’s going on in my life and my ministry or even if you just want to pray for me I would be eternally grateful as well.The total I have to raise is $12,000.00. (I know! Yikes, right?! I figured I better get started ASAP and stop dragging my feet) So if you decide to contribute to my cause you can write a check to Mission Year with my fund id: 14-9005 in the MEMO section and send it to:
PO Box 17628
Atlanta, GA 30316
or you can go to https://missionyear.thankyou4caring.org/donate and use a debit/credit card and either select One-time gift or Recurring, Just please make sure you include my fund ID! If you wait til February 3 you can get a T-shirt for donating to my cause I don’t know about y’all but if I was gonna donate money to someone I would definitely try to get a “free” t-shirt out of the deal. :) I might even donate money to myself, just for the T-shirt. I will post more information Feb. 3, but this is where you’ll go:
Also, if you want to know more about my reasons for doing this or about the program feel free to message me on facebook or text/ call me at 979-255-1086 and I would be more than happy to talk to you. Or if you just want to give me fundraising advice/tips those would be greatly appreciated as well. Also, if you want to read more about the Sports Team and Mission Year this is the link for that:
It’s pretty cool so you should DEFF check it out!
Thanks y’all are the BEST! I Love Everyone.