I was born in San Diego (or at least really close) and ended up living in California my whole life. This was actually a little bit surprising for my family as my dad was an officer in the Navy and many of our friends moved all over the country. My dad's job, along with a few other reasons, was why my parents decided to homeschool all of us kids. I remember loving being homeschooled because that meant we could actaully take family vacations up in the mountains together when my dad was home (usually for a few weeks at a time in October). My family has always been really close and we have lots of fun together.
I was very blessed to be in a Christian home with two loving parents, an older sister, and a younger brother. Since I was born into a Christian home, attending a very conservative church, Christianity was not something I ever really questioned. I do remember raising my hand every Sunday in Sunday School to say the prayer asking Jesus into my heart. I knew all about Jesus, but I wanted to be sure I was covered, just in case. I used to feel bad that I had been taught about Jesus as long as I could remember, never having that “come to Jesus" moment, but I've come to realize how blessed I've been to have had such a solid foundation in the faith, with a mom that would read us bible stories, pray, and teach each of us about God.
Well, things at our church got a bit rocky and we ended up leaving. After trying some non denominational churches for a little bit we dropped out of church all together. I remember still reading my Bible and praying, and kind of having a “holier than thou" attitude even though I wasn't really doing anything to pursue my relationship with God. But hey, I thought, at least I'm reading my bible and sort of praying.
Then one day, I think it was in the summer, my mom came to us and said we were going to try Grace Episcopal Church. I had no idea what that meant. But I was all for this plan since she said my dad would start coming with us. We got to church that Sunday and there were all these readings, lots of prayers, and guys in robes...all I was thinking is, “wait, this is Catholic..." But it was in this church that I really came to have a relationship with Christ. Once I got past the shock of a service so different, I was able to start listening and seeing an even greater picture of Jesus, one that for me became even more pronounced in the traditions and formalities of the Church. It was in this church that I came to know some of my best friends, the first time I ever had Christian friends that would hold me accountable, went to youth camps, and learned to share my faith. In this church, with my whole family and close friends, Jesus became personal to me.
After Grace Church we became Anglican and started the Anglican Church of the Resurrection. It was in this church that I met our new youth pastor (well youth leader), David. We had lots in common and became good friends. He also ended up being one of my main mentors, as well as someone who could and would challenge me in my faith. It was through youth group, bible studies, and coffee house meetings that I was able to ask questions about sermons, readings, or anything that I just wanted to talk through. Good times. Basically, I gained a good friend and learned about my faith. At this point I thought I had my life completely figured out.
My plan since I was little was to be chef, I had the school picked out and everything. But from a seemingly random suggestion and a variety of cirumstances, God made it clear He wanted me to go to school for music. What?! “God are you sure?", was all I could think. After having everything planned out, what would my parents think? How would I make a living? I love piano, but there's not much money in music... But God in His perfect wisdom worked everything out perfectly. Now I'm in my Senior year at CSU Fullerton pursuing my Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance. I get to study what I love, teach piano to children as well as adults, and accompany the services for my church.
So again, I was pretty sure my life was all figured out. God had bigger plans.
During my first year studying music I realized I was falling for my best friend (David), there was only one problem, he was now a missionary in Belize. Here we go again. “God are you sure??" Yes he's my best friend and everything, but he's a missionary. I never even considered being a missionary. What about all the music I've been studying, will that just go to waste? But again God made it clear that his plans are always better than mine. I have been able to visit Belize multiple times and I came to love the people, country, and culture. Not only that, but I fell in love with my best friend.
Missionary life wasn't my original plan. Missionary life wasn't even my back-up plan. I knew I wanted to serve God, but I didn't know what that would look like. But through prayer and discernment God has brought me to this next step in my life where I get to share the Gospel, serve Him and others, all with my best friend here in Belize.
So after I graduated and we raised support, we have now headed back to Belize! I'm currently serving alongside David, working with young women in the church (through the youth group, Bible studies, and children's chapel), as well as using the gifts God gave me in music to accompany worship and lead our growing children's choir.
That's me up to this point. We'll see what God has planned next.