Stephanie & CJ

   

Hi I’m Stephanie from Journey 2009!

I can't believe it has been 2 going on 3 years since my amazing Journey. I started this walk right after high school; I went from walking across the stage and receiving my diploma to walking out of the airport in Kenya on my first plane ride ever! While in Kenya I personally had many ups and downs! It was the best place in the world to help me find my identity in Christ! I had no worldly influence there and I left feeling brand new!

On that note this blog is about my Journey from the time I got home. I am not going to say coming home was easy for me, because that would be a lie. When I came home I was angry and ashamed of myself, for the way I had been living my life. I had a hard time getting back into the swing of things and made a “few” mistakes along the way of getting on the right path with God! I went from the girl I wanted to be and happy to be in Kenya to someone I didn’t even know anymore. Going into my first semester in college I was going no where fast from my grades to my personal life! Then in late October early November I found out what was then the worst news of my life! I was pregnant. I was 18 and really doing nothing with my life. After finding out that I was pregnant I decided that I had to do something more than just provide for this child, I had to fix my relationship with my Lord and Savior before even thinking about fixing anything else I ruined in the short few months back in the states.

The next few weeks I struggled to think of what I should do to make this happen. One Sunday I went to my pastor and told him everything. How I knew I was doing wrong but did nothing to stop it and how I didn’t know if Aaron my Fiancé was saved or not. He said he was but I still was not sure. My pastor gave me words of encouragement and told me what I already knew I had to do. Later that week I sat in my car for what seemed like hours just talking to God and asking him to forgive me for all my wrongs. Praying to him to show me what I need to do to make everything okay again! Then it hit me I am a child of God! He is not going to turn me away for this. I need to bring my child in a home that is good and Holy! Not dark, sad and ashamed. I would like to say from the time I stepped out of my car on that November night I was a completely changed person, but I can’t. I still made some mistakes but instead of keeping it in, I asked God for his love and mercy.

April 25, 2010 we welcomed Meredith Marie Garrett into the world at 7.7lbs and 19 in.! This was truly the best day of my life! I was a mommy to a perfect, beautiful, healthy, blessing from God. She was here 3 weeks early and healthy just in time for Mother’s day! Everything from there was going great! Aaron my Fiancé and I were happy and doing our best to take care of this perfect baby girl God had blessed us with. Thing were going fine for a while. Aaron and I started to disagree on how to raise Meredith and started to fight. In June of 2010 our church had a revival and the last night, I finally got Aaron to come with me. We were late so in true Baptist fashion all the seats in the back were full. So we sat on the front row with our daughter and the whole service Aaron look afraid. At the end of the night I was looking for him and saw him talking to the pastor crying. I saw his knees hit the floor and knew that this is why he was so afraid all service! I handed Meredith to my mother and went to support him right away. He stood up with a look of relief all over his face. This is what our family needed!

This was over a year ago and I can honestly say that things have gone nowhere but up. Yes we have had some lows but our God has gotten us through all of them. We are stronger people and family because of all God has lain out before us and for that I will always be grateful and humbled at his power and mercy. This year we have had opportunities before us to do some much within our church to better our youth. That is a true blessing. We have so many amazing young people there who can and will make a difference to the body of Christ and I can not wait to see what new things they have to teach me in the future! This is my life now! I work, raise my wonderful daughter and try make best to farther Gods kingdom in anyway I can. That is what I have been spending the last two years doing! I feel completely at peace with myself and the work we are doing as a family to worship and serve my God. That trip to Kenya really took me for a RIDE and Aaron and I pray daily for this ministry because we know that if not for that trip to Kenya with Choose to Invest our lives could have played out much differently!

Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them. Deuteronomy 4:9

CJ

I was part of the Journey 2009 team a couple of summers ago. After I went on the Journey '09 trip, God continued to keep me involved with what He is doing in Kenya. In 2010 I had the incredible opportunity to intern with the Daraja Children's Choir of Africa. The Daraja Choir, composed of 24 Kenyan children, travels around the US to spread the hope and joy they've found in Jesus through African songs and dances. It was such a neat experience and God taught me so much about having a servant's heart. My internship with the choir ended in December 2010, and I headed back to college in January. However, going back to school was a difficult transition for me. I had served with the choir for about seven months, and following an internship that long, it was tough to want to go back to school. Serving in Kenya or serving with the choir felt important, and school felt insignificant in many ways. Since then though, the Lord has been teaching me something new - Bringing glory to God is not dependent on what I do, but how and why I do it. I can serve and bring glory and joy to God in college just as I can with the Daraja Choir. I can bring honor to God in the workplace just as I can in Kenya. Full-time ministry can be done anywhere, and this is the stage of life I currently find myself. Right now I am working a job in Alpharetta, Georgia, and I'm taking college courses online. That's not as interesting sounding as traveling the US with Kenyan children, but it is still ministry, and every day the Lord wants me to serve whole-heartedly and act like Christ. My heart still longs to serve in Kenya and work overseas, however I'm learning that I need to be faithful to the Lord where He has put me! After I graduate from college next year, I'm not sure where God will lead (honestly, I hope back to Kenya). However, I know God is faithful and I'm excited to continue pursuing His plan!