My name is Jordan Ryherd and I am a senior at Lincoln Christian University in Lincoln, IL. In the past three years, I have taken two trips to East Africa with Choose to Invest as a part of the Journey internship.
In 2013, I went to East Africa as a Journey intern. This was so far outside of my comfort zone, but it quickly became clear to me that it was what God was calling me to do. I had never been on a mission trip before, and I am quite comfortable living and serving God in my small, mid-western bubble back at home. However, God provided the means and the way for me to go. With less than four days before the final deposit was due for the trip, I fundraised the remainder of my more than $2,000 deficit. It was a miraculously clear sign to me of God’s calling, and the strangest of ways, I ended up going on Journey.
Courage is a requirement to following Jesus. When I first went on Journey, I felt scared all the time. I never believed that I was good enough and thought that the only way that I could make God and other people happy was by legalistically trying to be a good person. That first summer in Africa completely broke down all of my walls, and I realized that I could leave my self-righteousness behind because I would never be good enough anyway. I had to accept the righteousness of Jesus. This took courage for me. It feels safer hiding behind a mask of good works and pretending that I do not need grace. I thought I could manage my own life without being dependent on God, but the courage came in letting go of my desire to look like I have my life together,and instead, let God be in charge of me.
This year as summer staff, I experienced God’s calling in a different way toward Journey. It was sheer coincidence that I heard about an opening and was accepted after the deadline, and I knew it had to be from God. It was an incredible experience for me to learn and lead as a part of staff, and God continued to teach me courage this summer. Now that I knew what it meant to be in a relationship with Him and to choose to courageously live in my new identity as His child, God called me to act. I had to choose courage and act upon my convictions. When God says, “Go,” then I go, and when He says, “Speak,” then I need to speak. Even if it means go to Africa or speak when I am afraid. Since my identity is rooted in God’s love for me then He is the only one that I am working to please.