It seems like for the last few months, maybe even year, that there has been quite a bit of speculation regarding my future plans. People have asked me what’s next, and I honestly haven’t known what to tell them. However, God has made it abundantly clear to me that my time in New York and on Long Island is coming to a close, at least for now.
I’ve felt like for a while now that God has been calling me to long-term overseas missions. It’s incredibly exciting on one hand, and nerve-wracking on the other. In order to pursue and chase after the calling He has given me, I feel the best way to prepare for that is by taking seminary classes and getting a master’s degree in Missiology. I am pumped to see what God will do and to be a part of His plan in this unique way.
My plan is to move back to Texas near my family in the Dallas area this November, and get a job while also pursuing my master’s degree.
As exciting as all of this is, it’s incredibly bittersweet. This is not a decision I have taken lightly and it has been weighing on me for quite a while.
I cannot adequately put into words what Crossroads means to me. Over the last three and a half years, I’ve worn many hats. I’ve been an intern, driver, teacher, janitor, youth minister, mission team leader, small group leader, and worship leader. I’ve gotten to work at three of our four Crossroads campuses as well as with other churches all over New York City. Although I love leading worship, my favorite “hat” I’ve gotten to wear has been “observer”. I don’t mean like sitting on the sideline and not participating kind of thing, but getting to see people’s lives change over the last three and a half years is what will always mean the most to me. I’ve seen more adults come to know Jesus and be baptized in my time here than in my entire life. We’ve baptized well over 100 adults since I have been up here. It’s one of those things that will never get old. There is nothing like the power of the Gospel being realized. One of my favorite things about it is that it’s almost like a song that’s playing as God is calling out to people. You can see when the song has started in someone’s life, and you’re just waiting for the chorus and the bridge. The first verse is when they start coming to the church or maybe are meeting with one of the pastors and start asking questions. Then the second verse comes in and they are really beginning to realize that this God that they are learning about isn’t some made up story to make them feel better, but that He is alive and real and that He loves them.
And that’s when the chorus hits. They can no longer deny who He is. The song gets bigger and louder and they begin to tell others in their lives around them about what God is doing in their lives. They often get confused looks from people who have known them for a while that see this change in them. The longer this goes on, the more contagious it is.
By the time we get to the bridge, they’re getting baptized and making it publicly known that they have a Savior whose name is Jesus. Their sins are no longer counted against them.
Watching that happen is amazing. It’s a process that can take weeks or even months, but it makes the baptisms that much more special because we’ve gotten to witness firsthand what God has done to bring them to that point.
I know God is leading me away, but Long Island will always have a huge part of my heart. Some of the best people I know live here. It’s great to work with people that you get along with, but it’s another thing to get to work with people who become your family. Our staff has seen me on my best days and on my absolute worst days. We have laughed together in the highest of highs and wept together in each other’s pain and sorrow. Two of those moments that stick out the most are after being here only ten days, my father passed away unexpectedly. Crossroads and Sterling especially surrounded me in that time and the love I felt that day will never be forgotten. I also remember golfing with Jamie one day when I received the news that one of the twins my sister would be having wasn’t going to make it. Jamie and I cried together and most importantly cried out to God together in that moment. I truly believe God knew I needed Jamie there with me when I found that out and God delivered. There have been so many moments that were so clearly orchestrated by God that all we can do is thank God and stand in awe.
Not only is the Crossroads staff like family, but some of them actually will be family in May! My younger brother Braden is marrying our Senior Pastor Sterling Edwards’ daughter, Madison! We had no idea 3 years ago that me coming here would have this kind of impact!! You’re welcome, Braden and Madison!! Sorry, Sterling! Haha
It really does ease some of my pain in leaving knowing that I will always have that connection here and that I will certainly be back to visit Crossroads and my brother’s family!
I want to thank everyone who has partnered with me over the years by praying for me, buying a t-shirt from me, sent a random check in the mail, or sent an encouraging note or letter. God has used you and all of these things to provide exactly what I needed here. It was amazing how time after time when I thought I wasn’t going to have enough support to get through, God would deliver in a big way.
I can’t wait to see what God is going to do next in my life. Whatever it is, I know that I am more prepared than ever after what He has taught me on Long Island and in New York. I truly believe that the best is yet to come and that God is going to continue to move like crazy in my life and in the lives of people on Long Island.