Friday, June 1, 2012

Arriving at Avant!

As I stepped out of the terminal into the Kansas City Airport I realized that its surprisingly small and thus very similar to Columbia's airport. Then I stepped outside into the hot sun and thought maybe I had flown from Charlotte back to Columbia rather than Charlotte to Kansas City! I had low expectations for Kansas City and had no idea what to expect from Avant's Headquarters but I was pleased with both! Kansas City is much bigger than I expected. Bryan, an Avant recruiter, took the interns downtown to get fro-yo Tuesday night so we got to see some of the city. It's much bigger than I expected with high end retail stores and plenty to do, I guess the Midwest isn't so bad after all! Avant shares it's office building and guest house/ conference center with another ministry called Crossworld. The main office building is pretty impressive and includes a small chapel room for weekly services. The guest house is the building where I've been staying during training and it hosts the missionaries that come in for training throughout the year. 

Arriving at Avant for my internship orientation, I had no idea what to expect. I got to meet June, the other Italy intern, and he's awesome. Our personalities fit very well together and I'm excited to have him as a friend to go on this adventure with. There are also three other interns; Larae is going to Uruguay, Jedidiah is going to the Middle East, and Amy is interning here at headquarters. At Chapel yesterday morning all the interns introduced themselves and shared their testimonies, so I really enjoyed hearing about what the Lord has done in their lives. Yesterday and today (Thursday) we had prayer in the mornings and several seminars throughout the day with a lunch break in between. The seminars included; Avant's History, Crossing Borders & Culture Shock, Telling Your Story, Staying Spiritually Strong, and Staying Safe. A different staff member taught each seminar and I was blown away by all the fascinating stories they had from the mission field. Almost everyone who has worked at Avant has served as a missionary in a foreign country and they have incredible stories of God's provision and faithfulness in the face of adversity. It's been really cool to hear what life is like in different parts of the world. 

So far I have been incredibly humbled by my time here at Avant. My heart and mind are overwhelmed. I am learning so much and am being exposed to people who are so much wiser and more cultured than I am. They know more about the Bible, more about God's character, and more about the world than I can ever imagine. The Lord is already using this experience to stir my heart for missions and reaffirm my call to ministry. It makes me wonder where He might call me in the future. It might be college ministry in the states or it might be overseas ministry in Italy. He could even just use this experience to stir my heart to pray fervently for the people of Italy even after I've left. Whatever it might be, I'm excited to get to Italy and start learning more! My time at Avant has definitely reaffirmed that God wants me to do go into vocational ministry, whatever it might be, thats where my passion is! 

Tomorrow June and I will fly out of Kansas City at 3:30pm and arrive in Genoa, at about 3pm the next day! I CAN'T WAIT to get there, FINALLY!!! (Can it really be as gorgeous as the pictures??!) 

  • Please be praying for safe travels and no complications. 
  • I also ask that you pray for this trip to help me fall in love with Jesus all over again, I deeply desire to serve Him wholeheartedly, but I could use some rejuvenation. 
  • Please also pray that the Lord would break my selfishness...that I would be focused on serving Him, the missionaries, and the Italian people, not what this experience can do for me, but what I can do for them.
  •  Please pray for divine interactions with people, that the Lord would begin to put people in my path for me to share the gospel with this summer. Thanks!!!