It was 17 years ago today. Tuesday night of my first youth camp at Cohutta Springs, and the Lord had grabbed me. I was twelve, having just finished 6th grade, and mine was the youngest class there. I was surrounded by friends in the service who were goofing off and not paying attention. I have no idea what was said that night, if there was one verse or phrase or sermon point that initially got my full attention. All I knew was that Jesus had something for me, and I wanted it. I knew, with a clarity beyond my maturity or capacity, that whatever it was would require my life. There was a plan – a journey – laid out for me that promised incredible reward and fulfillment, and it would cost me everything. How could I understand right then what that would mean? How could I get my mind around giving my life to follow One who wasn’t yet telling me where we were going? Could I know then that what I thought I was giving up would seem like nothing in light of what He would replace it with?
I surrendered my life to vocational ministry that night, and that moment has shaped every moment of my life since, not to put it too dramatically. Since music was really all I’d ever really known or loved, I assumed for a long time that music ministry was where I was headed. And I was right, to a point. Starting maybe 3 year later, I’ve been involved in volunteer and ‘professional’ music ministry for the last 14 years. I helped lead worship (in the same student ministry that nurtured my calling) most of the way through high school, then got to college and started to pursue a Church Music degree.
Then after my first semester of study, I came home for Christmas and heard about a Missions Conference geared at college students. I remember going and walking around to all the booths, hearing the stories, seeing the faces. I’d done this before, and I had my direction in life, so I didn’t let myself be impacted deeply. Of particular interest was a guy at the Wycliffe Bible Translators booth. I hung out and listened to his story, asked him some questions, then put my wall back up and moved on. I was stunned to realize that there were still millions of people on my planet without access to the Word of God in the language of their heart. I allowed myself to think that this could be a ministry I’d want to keep up with and support, once I got out of school and was making the big bucks in ministry. Then I left and tried to forget about it. At this I failed miserably. I went for several weeks resisting the constant thoughts about translation work – how amazingly important it was, how hard it must be, and how – just maybe – I was supposed to be involved in it. It took a while, but I finally surrendered to the possibility that my plan for my future and ministry wasn’t exactly what God had in mind. I told my parents, and I told my new girlfriend, that I thought the Lord was changing my direction, and I was blessed and humbled by their support and encouragement. I offered to change my major, to start now to pursue this new direction, but I was assured that God’s providence had me where He wanted me for the present. I stayed in music at school, but I picked up a minor in Biblical Languages along the way. I graduated, started in my first ministry, got married (not precisely in that order, but close), and we began our first period of waiting on God’s timing. For nearly 8 years of marriage, Rebekah and I have been serving together, being used in the Kingdom, growing a family, and waiting for Him to open the door and say ‘GO.’
We’re now seeing that door start to crack open. Things are in motion, and the best part of the story is yet to be told. Please join us as we walk with the Lord as He leads our family toward this great adventure. Follow The Wade Journey, and watch with us to see what He does.