Approximately 3.5 years ago, I was entering my senior year of college. My parents set me down and told me I had to start either a) looking for a job, b) deciding where to go to graduate school, or c) begin applying to missions organizations. Choice C was my favorite, so I spent months searching for the *perfect* missions organization. I sent emails, made phone calls, asked around…until I finally broke down and was so frustrated I kept hitting dead ends. Either people didn’t respond, I didn’t agree with certain things, or timing. I finally was connected to Pioneers, International through random sources I can’t even remember. I do remember one person’s influence greatly during this time, through emails and visits…who recently was martyred in northern Central Asia this past August (we called ourselves “sheet twins” because we both had matching green t-shirt sheets). I think the day I called PI was one of those days when I was a little frustrated with the process, so my initial phone call went like this:
random secretary: “P.I., this is Rachel, how can I help you?”
me: “Um, yes, I need help.”
Rachel: “With what?”
me:”I just –insert sob– really want to be a missionary and I don’t know how and I just want to talk to someone!!”
Who other than the Director of Mobilization got on the phone with me for over an hour to talk, plan, encourage, and pray for me. I remember sitting on my bed, in my green/brown/burnt orange dorm room, feeling incredible peace like never before (other than when I knew I was supposed to be at Lake Forest Ranch in 2007. Another story for another day). PI sent me videos and tons of information, and I began the process to be “appointed.”
I went to a Candidate Orientation Program week in January of 2008, and met the most amazing people. Everyone there was in that place because they wanted to bring the gospel to unreached areas. Needless to say, I felt home.
One thing to know about me is I HATE letting go of people and relationships. God beat me in this area though- he has kept some of those same people in my life, particularly one. Alison Aubuchon was one girl I immediately clicked with and had a blast with. We spent the entire year emailing back and forth, until we reunited at the Pioneers conference Story ’08. The next summer, she called me saying “I’m coming to Memphis!” She moved to a poor neighborhood to work with refugees under a guy that I used to intern for back in 2005. After that, she returned to Springfield, MO to finish her nursing degree, in hopes to move overseas after that. However…in 2010 she officially moved to Memphis to be a nurse at the crazy emergency hospital The Med. Not only does she live in the same neighborhood as before, it is the neighborhood I now teach in. To be even more weird, my school and Alison’s house are literally across the street from each other. Clearly, God wants us to be friends.
I don’t know why the story of me & PI turned into the story of me & Alison, but it helps me to know that throughout the changes the past 3.5 years, God has allowed for some things to grow and some things to be paused. Alison and I understand each other in a really cool way- we have a desire to go overseas, but we know it’s not His timing to go now. We like to pretend one day we’ll end up on the same team together, but it’s just really refreshing to have her in my life.