How did I get here?

It's been WAYYYY too long since I updated this thing, and I'm finally finding myself with things that I want to share.

For one thing, the most exciting news by far in my life is that I am returning to the work I love doing overseas!   In fact, I quit my job at the Y so that I could travel full-time raising support and speaking about the great projects that God has in store for the next few years of my life.  I am currently booking services with churches and sending out mailings to help raise awareness, prayer support, and finances needed to run the evangelical ministry I'll be doing.

How did I get here?  Well, it started in March of 2011, about the time I wrote that last (rather depressing) post.  The closure of the Severn River Church was particularly hard on me, and I felt myself floundering under the pressure of that long after I should have come back up for air.  I went away in March of 2011 to try to pray through my frustration and figure out what God had next for me.  Every which way I prayed seemed like it led to closed doors, and I had no peace about any option that seemed to open up.

That weekend at the Potomac District Campground was a real turnaround for me.  I needed to forgive someone that hurt me, and I needed to rebuild some relationships that had gotten lost along the way.  I also felt God leading me back into missions, even though I didn't know how that would work out.  I went straight home and called a friend to meet for coffee, so that I could start rebuilding that broken relationship.  I felt that God needed to heal me before He could take me further.

I continued to pray about missions, because I wanted to be sure that it was God's leading, and not my own "fallback" position.  I don't believe in trying to recreate the past, so I didn't want to fall victim to that trap.  The more I prayed, the more I felt certain that God was in it, but there was still a problem: I had been told that it was impossible to leave missions and ever return again.  I was told that people would believe me to be a quitter and that would negatively impact any hope I would have to return.  I found myself asking God how He could lead me to something that was supposedly impossible.  But one day as I was praying (or arguing, sort of with God), I heard His voice say, "Is anything too hard for me?"  And I realized that while some people may struggle with supporting me again, God will always provide for His servants.  So I called a friend and asked to have coffee with him, so that I could discuss some options with him.

Paul Trementozzi and his wife Angie have been leaders in Southern Europe for a long time, and they were living only 20 minutes away from me.  It was easy to chat with them, share what was in my heart, and hear their encouragement meant the world to me.  Paul also felt that the Holy Spirit was working in the whole situation and he helped me get the ball rolling to return to overseas.  In fact, he suggested that, given my previous experiences and particular gifting, I should consider the Oasis Center in Spain as an option, and he helped set up an introduction with Mark and Ellen Cannon, the directors.

Have you ever tried to push a gate that is meant to open the other way?  You push and push, and feel it straining, and then have that momentary feeling of foolishness when you realize it pulls instead.  Then, when you pull it open, it's so free and easy after the strain of pushing the wrong way.

I met Mark and Ellen at a Panera Bread on a rainy afternoon.  From the minute I walked in to meet them, we hit it off.  We had mutual friends, we shared the same ministry philosophy; our experiences and vision lined up, and we all felt that God had finally opened the right door.  It was as free and easy as the gate swinging wide open to welcome me in.  I immediately started working on applying to reinstate my status with AGWM.  That took a little while (steps to complete), and I did get reappointed in April 2012.

That brings me back to the opening paragraph.  I hope to keep posting things as God gives me opportunity to glorify Him through this next step in my ministry.

Ariel Rainey