In April of 2008, Nikki and I prayed for an opportunity to serve on a "short-term" international mission trip. God answered that prayer quickly with an opportunity to serve in the Dominican Republic for a week. Not knowing God had bigger plans, we eagerly arrived in Sosua, Dominican Republic. The third night, God revealed that bigger plan. He and I had a long wrestling match that went something like this: "Brandon, you are moving here to work with these people and this organization. God, no I am not...it makes no sense, and it clearly isn't practical." As the night went on, I realized that I was not going to win. I simply said, "God, if this is you, then keep telling me this, don't let it go away."
Two months later I shared this with Nikki because He did not let it go away. I could not shake what happened that night because deep down I knew exactly what it was. It was exactly like the night I sat on the beach in Florida when God called me into full-time ministry.
When I shared this with Nikki, I told her I had no idea what this was about, what it meant, or what exactly was going to happen. The biggest issue was my fists were holding tightly onto many things...the most significant...my life and the way it was. But, as God calls an individual, He will work within that individual to shape his or her desires to match His desires. I found myself being restless in ministry and unsure of all the plans I had set for myself. The house I lived in was not as important to me as it once was. The comfort of life just didn't seem as good as living a bold faith and doing something that REQUIRED 100% dependence on God.
In April of 2009, Nikki and I returned for our 2nd trip to the Dominican Republic. I prayed specifically that God would either confirm His call by revealing the specific need for us being there or to close the door. I wanted God to show this need by one of the missionaries simply telling us they wanted us to move there. God wanted me to excercise my faith with ACTION. On Sunday of our trip, the sermon was on the man who brought his demon possessed son to Jesus and said "If you can heal my son..." Jesus simply asked him why he said "IF". The question posed to us that morning was, "what is the big IF in your life that you are not trusting God to be able to do?"
I took a step of faith and shared my story with a guy named Brent Gambrell. He told me the biggest question was if they even needed anyone else there. But, he was having dinner with Jeanne, who started New Missions with her husband over 25 years ago, and said he would throw it out to her.
The next morning, I find out that God answered my prayer in a very specific way. Jeanne said if they needed anything it was a minister. Then she said even more than that they needed someone who is a youth minister. The crazy thing is she had NO idea there was a youth minister and his wife struggling with God calling them to the Dominican Republic (that is me and Nikki) until AFTER she said that!
The very thing I asked God to do, He served up on a big fat platter and said, "I am calling you to the Dominican Republic for a reason. Now trust me with this. Let go of your life and all that you have and come serve me."