A Journey of Faith
When I was 16, I was praying in my high school chapel and I heard the Lord call me to be a missionary. I didn't really understand what that meant, but I kept asking the Lord and I spent the next 10 years growing in my faith in the Christian community where I lived, seeking to love and serve the Lord. I had always assumed the Lord would send me out through the community, but some very hard times followed which made that impossible. A little over a year ago, in the midst of the sad trials that were occurring, I was at Mass and again, I heard the Lord call me to be a missionary. He told me the time was very soon and to get ready.
Over the next few months, I spoke with my parish priest on several occasions about the things God was saying to me. He received a letter from Dave Nodar about ChristLife which he passed on to me because he thought I might be interested. When I received the letter, I was excited and I stood in the kitchen saying "Yes, Yes, Yes!" as I read it, but then I read the part about Eastern Europe and I had some doubts because I had majored in Spanish in college and I didn't know any Eastern European languages yet. At about the same time, the Lord had been saying to me in my prayer, "It's time to go." and I kept saying, "Okay, Lord, go where?".
Last March, I decided to go to Toronto for a special conference entitled, "The Father Loves You". While there, a man spoke of returning God the Father's love to Him and the way we do that is by loving other people. He gave the analogy of the sinking of the Titanic which represents the church crying out to be saved. There were 3 other ships involved. One of them was known as the Sampson. It was 7 miles away from the Titanic and they saw the white flares signaling danger, but because the crew had been hunting seals illegally and didn't want to be caught, they turned and went the opposite direction away from the Titanic. This ship represents us and people like us if we are so busy looking inward at our own sin and lives that we can't recognize when someone else is in need. The next ship was the Californian. This ship was only 14 miles away from the Titanic, but they were surrounded by ice fields and the captain looked out and saw the white flares, but because the conditions weren't favorable and it was dark, he decided to go back to bed and wait until morning. The crew tried to convince themselves that nothing was happening. This ship represents those of us who say I can't do anything now. The conditions aren't right for it and so we wait until conditions are perfect before going out. The last ship was the Carpathia. This ship was actually headed in a southern direction 58 miles away from the Titanic when they heard the distress cries over the radio. The captain of this ship knelt down, prayed to God for direction and then turned the ship around and went full steam ahead through the ice fields. This was the ship that saved the 705 survivors of the Titanic. When the captain looked back at the ice fields they had come through, he said Someone else's hands must have been at the helm of this ship! This ship represents those who would pray to God for direction and then go without hesitation.
After the man spoke, he said there are some here who are called to be missionaries and evangelists. He invited us to come forward and then he said, "God is handing you a blank piece of paper. There's a line at the bottom for you to sign your name. Sign it and say 'Lord, you fill in the rest.'" I did that and I know the Lord took me at my word. A few weeks later, I was beginning to doubt and say to the Lord, "I don't have enough training. How can I be a missionary?". The Lord said to me, "Melanie, I have enough Californians. I need Carpathians! I want you to bring the gifts of the Spirit to the church."
I decided to phone Dave to learn more about ChristLife. He invited me to a Mass for ChristLife where a woman from Poland named Kasia Miturska, would be sharing about the school of evangelization in Poland. After the Mass, I was speaking with Kasia when Dave asked me, "Melanie, do you want to go to Poland?" I immediately said, "YES!". Afterwards, I thought, "Where did that come from? I don't want to go to Poland." In the next few days as I prayed, I became more and more convinced that this is where God was calling me to go and I heard the Lord saying, "You asked where. This is where." I set up a meeting with Dave and Kasia to hear more about the school and the night before I went, my mother gave me a travel magazine with an article in it about Poland. When I opened the magazine, the title of the article was "Eternal Poland - Krakow and the Carpathians". I had never even heard of the name Carpathia before I heard the story of the Titanic in Toronto. This was like handwriting on the wall for me. The next day I spoke with Dave and Kasia and discovered that the school was going to take place in Slovakia this year. When I went home, I looked in an encyclopedia to find out what the Carpathians were and discovered that they are the mountains on the border between Poland and Slovakia and not only that, the school that I would be attending was nestled right in the middle of the Carpathian mountain range. God was sending me to the Carpathians to learn what it means to be a Carpathian!
It didn't take me long to fall in love with the country of Slovakia and the people there. One day, just after communion while at Mass in the school, I was looking at my fellow students and praying for them and God said to me, "Melanie, these are the Carpathians. These are the ones that I am going to send out and use to convert the world. I am going to use the people in the east to make the west so hungry for the gospel." My response was simply, "Wow! What an awesome privilege to be part of this school! Thank you God, for sending me to learn from the people of the Carpathian mountains what it means to be a Carpathian!"
What about you? Could God be calling you to be a Carpathian too?
If you are interested in learning more about ChristLife's Schools of Evangelization and short term missions contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org