The day Twitter changed my life

It all started 8 years ago when I took my first mission trip to Monterey, Mexico. I’m sure there was a point when the little spark that ignited from my first trip grew into a flame, but I can’t pinpoint exactly when. All I know is that it happened sometime in-between my trips to Mexico, Belize, China, Thailand & Vietnam, the Netherlands, Belgium, & France, and Moldova.

From jesseischens.theworldrace.org  From jesseischens.theworldrace.org
(this is me floating down a river in Thailand on a bamboo raft, and hanging out with some kids in Vietnam after a day at the waterpark)

Maybe the flame was increasingly fanned with each trip I took, with each culture I experienced, with each void and need seen that can only be filled and satisfied with the love of Jesus. Perhaps with each trip I knew with more certainty that my heart was growing for missions, that this was what my life was made, designed, and purposed for. But then it would be back to the daily grind, back to America, back to the way things always were. Comfort at home, with family, my own bed, a solid job, a career of writing in front of me.

School and car loans were slowly paid off…and as I became more and more debt free I realized suddenly that my life was meant for more. A year ago I began to really feel restless at my job. It just didn’t mean as much to me anymore…I struggled to stay focused. I loved it…loved writing about destinations around the world and working for a travel company, but it all of the sudden came to a point where I knew without a doubt that this wasn’t where God had me for the rest of my life. He had so much more in store! I started to pray about it more, seeking Him more, but still no answer. Things would come up and get me very excited, and I thought a couple times for sure, “This is it…this is what God has for me!” But it wasn’t it.

God carefully and patiently shut each door, until I was confused and frustrated and wondering what the heck was going on. Why, when he knew my heart and desires, would He close these doors that seemed so obviously from Him? But then, over a few months time, I began to realize that while these things may indeed be right for me, it obviously wasn’t the right time. And peace washed over me, with renewed confidence. God was in control, and even if things didn’t happen on my timeline, it was going to be okay and He had a perfect plan. There’s a lot of frustration wrapped up in there…it wasn’t an easy thing for me.

So then, one day, July 7, 2011, to be exact, I was doing my Facebook/Twitter thing, browsing around…and I came across an acquaintance’s tweet (here’s a link to her WR blog). All she said was “The World Race changed my life” and gave a link to the website. I got curious, clicked the link, saw that it was through Adventures in Missions, which I was familiar with, read the “11 Countries in 11 Months,” and went, “WHOA.” It was like a slap in the face (a good one, anyway, haha)! I was amazed that there was such a thing out there for 21-35 year olds.

I thought I had lost my opportunity years ago when I “forgot” to take a year off somewhere in-between high school to college to internship to full-time job…and only once I was fully employed did I sit back, realizing and wondering why I never took a year off when I had such a heart for missions? Why?

This World Race thing seemed like an incredible opportunity for a second chance. Maybe this was what God had in store for me all along! Ha…what a thought! 😛

So from then on I was hooked. I started to delve into discovering who was doing The World Race and what it was all about. I started subscribing to World Racers’ blogs, feeling very stalkerish but not being able get over how awesomely cool and crazy this experience seemed to be for them, how life-changing, and it was amazing to read about the incredible growth that happens within each person.
It was a stunning testimony, and I was hooked. And God kept after me, day after day, month after month, until I knew that I should do it.

Long story short, with some indecision and lots of prayer and even more on the fence stuff—because, simply put, sometimes I have a very hard time making such huge life changing decisions—I decided to do it. The September race 2 came out and I knew that was it. I filled out the application. I placed my mouse cursor over the submit button, squealed and closed my eyes, and did it. I pushed the submit button. A week later I had my interview. A week after that, I found out I was accepted.

And now the process begins. In 9 months I will embark upon a crazy trip around the world. I don’t know what will happen. I’m not sure what to expect. In fact, I know not to expect the expected, but to expect the unexpected, although that’s way easier said than done. All I know is that there is a crazy ride ahead of me. And more to come after the Race. But for now, this is my next bold step.

God used Twitter to call me to do The World Race.

It’s crazy when you think about it, but then again, not really that surprising. He’ll use whatever He wants to get us where He wants us. We can say no, but we also know that if we don’t go, we’ll regret it.

So the answer is Yes. Absolutely, 100%, yes. It’s weird and just a bit crazy, but it’s along the lines of a life dream of mine that’s just waiting to be grasped.

So there you have it. The oh-so-long explanation to a not-so-long click-of-the-mouse discovery that God used to move me to the next adventure He has for me. Gotta love it!

Your thoughts would look GOOD here :)

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