If you know, you know...that's real. In that moment...with that image, or that situation, or that result...in that moment, you realize something that only someone in your shoes could appreciate. Only that person who gets it will know exactly what you are talking about. IYKYK!
It's almost like Deja vu...you come to that moment of familiarity, but newness, all at the same time. It dawns on you and you realize that this journey you're on is in the hands of a God who understands and knows you better than you know yourself.
In the summer of 2000, my family and I embarked on a cross-country trip from middle Tennessee to the west coast and southern California. This was truly one of the most epic trips we have taken as a family over the years. We had so much fun...my wife, our daughter, and my mom and stepfather.
We packed up our 1995 Ford Aerostar van and set out across the wild, wild west. It was amazing to view the broad variety of terrain and foliage along the way. We passed through Arkansas, Oklahoma, northern Texas, New Mexico and Arizona, on our 2000-mile, 29-hour trek. We reveled in the beauty as I cranked up "Nothing to Say" by Andrew Peterson and cruised down I-40, closely following the path of old Route 66. Because our destination was a conference in Anaheim, we planned to make the trip out to the coast, a hard drive, stopping at night to sleep and getting on the road bright and early the next morning...three days travel. Our first stop was in Amarillo, TX. Our second, was Albuquerque, NM. All was going well...until...we came upon the Rocky Mountains. Somewhere between Winslow and Flagstaff, we began to experience an unusual loss of power with our van. It was as if it was struggling to pull the incline and there was no apparent cause. We stopped to check out the engine and transmission. All appeared to be normal.
It was 1985 and I was excited to begin the next step in my educational and career journey. We had just recently moved to Virginia Beach, VA, to pursue our first ministry work. I was serving as a youth pastor and my wife was teaching kindergarten in our Christian school. We were full of expectation, wonder at what God was going to do, and finding our way in the world. We wanted to follow God's plan as a newly married couple...having just just celebrated our one-year anniversary. After about a year there, I decided it was time to take the next step in my education. You see, I had determined that God was leading me to pursue a graduate degree in counseling to better equip me to engage my calling to help others find peace, healing and fulfillment. I considered the local graduate school options...a state school that was very close by, a Christian graduate school that had a connection to a well-known religious leader and a somewhat exclusive college that was in the historic town of Williamsburg. After visiting campuses, gathering information, and prayerfully considering the options, I settled on The College of William and Mary in Virginia. I knew that this was the most challenging of the three, regarding admissions standards, but I believed it was the right place for me. Long-story-short, I was accepted and started pursuing my Masters of Education in Agency Counseling.
It was a great experience. I was introduced to many new things and challenged with learning all of the theoretical and technical aspects of mental health therapy. I was impressed with many of the professors. Although it was not a faith-based university, the faculty were always welcoming of my integration of biblical principles and thought into my work. I did not have a scholarship or internship, and my financial resources were meager, therefore, I had to go part-time, taking only one or two courses at a time...as I could afford to pay for them. This would mean that my completion time would be longer than normal, but I was okay with that. I had my plate full with the ministry responsibilities and my wife.
Things went along well for a while, until something happened that changed the timeline...
The minute you step off the plane and hear everyone talking, but don't understand a word they say...you know your not in Kansas, Dorothy. If you've ever had the experience of traveling solo to another country, you know what I'm talking about. When I traveled to Thailand, for instance, I landed in Bangkok and disembarked the aircraft, making my way through the corridor leading into the terminal. While I was onboard the airplane, I had no worries about communicating. I knew that the crew spoke English, my native tongue, and most of the passengers did as well. However, as I made my way through the airport toward the baggage area and, eventually, to the arriving passenger terminal where buses and taxis were awaiting their fares, those English-speaking people who made my trip across the Pacific easy and comfortable, had now dissolved into the crowds making their way to their destinations. Now, I knew that I may be able to find people who speak English, if I had an urgent need to converse, but, there was no guarantee and no certainty about how well they may speak English. After all...I"m an American, and you know what that means. It can be best summed up in a joke I heard.
What do you call a person who speaks two languages?
What do you call a person who speaks three-languages?
What do you call a person who speaks several languages?
With over forty years of ministry experience, Randy Kinnick continues to live a life of pursuing the purpose for which he was created. Whether teaching God's Word to adults, coaching youth and young adults in finding their purpose, or caring for the hurting and abused in Southeast Asia, the adventure has taken him around the world in ways he could have never dreamed. The adventure continues!