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The Journey to IMMERSION


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by Leanna Tucker Leanna is currently participating in our 9-month Gap Year program. She will spend 3 months in Costa Rica before heading to southern Africa for six months starting in January. This is her journey to saying "YES" to IMMERSION.

“Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders…”

These words have been consistently present in my mind for the last four months, as I have traveled from a place of sheer confusion to a God-given peace. This phrase has become my heart song while discovering God’s will for the next year of my life.

For as far back as I can remember, I have been planning the next step of my life. In my eyes, the plan was so perfect. I had it all planned out to the last detail. Then God simply reminded me that I am not in charge of my life. So, I said “no problem.” My plan consisted of a Christian-college, and I had strong convictions about a Christian husband.

So, I held up my carefully written out life-story and asked for God’s approval. Again, God convicted me. He said, “that looks great…but you didn’t let me write it.” That’s when I finally realized that I wasn’t giving God control over my life. I needed to hand Him a blank book and trust Him to write the perfect story.

The first thing God did was shield the blank book from my eyes. I started to get nervous because I didn’t understand. So, I asked God, “How am I supposed to follow your story for my life if I don’t know what it is?" He simply replied, "I will show you." As I continued with my life, the Lord began to speak to me daily. He spoke through lessons in class like “listening to God’s calling” and “Jonah’s rebellion.” (Yup, the guy who didn’t follow God’s calling.) I heard Him through church messages such as “Following God is More Than Lip Service” and “Taking up your cross and following Christ.”

God also worked through verses and friend’s advice. However, the biggest demonstration of God’s hand guiding me was with my parents. When I originally approached the idea of God calling me on a mission trip of this nature, my parents immediately shut down. Neither of them was on board, and immediately my heart was in turmoil. God was speaking to my heart, yet my parents were not going to allow me to answer.

Before I could sink into desperation, God spoke again. He said, “I am so much bigger than this.” The reply from my frantic mind was, “only a miracle is going to change their minds.” During this confusing period, I reached out to people around me for advice. As I sat with my youth pastor mulling over the choice I was going to have to make between obeying my parents and following God, He gave me a bit of advice.

He said, “God is not going to force you to make that decision. He will bring clarity to your calling or clarity to their standpoint.” It was around this time that God opened my ears to the lyrics of the song “God Help Me” by Plumb.

“I don’t know the future It’s one day at a time
But I know I’ll be okay with
Your Hand holding mine
So take all my resistance

Oh God I need
Your grace
One step and then the other
Show me the way
Show me the way

Help me to move
Help me to see
Help me to do whatever you would ask of me
Help me to go (Or)

God help me to stay I’m feeling so alone here
And I know that
You’re faithful
But I can barely breathe God help me.”

These lyrics spoke truth to my heart and gave me such peace that they became my prayer for weeks. With God’s voice continually answering my heart cries I came to a middle place, I was neither confused or at peace; I was merely waiting on God to make the next move. Then came my miracle.

As I continued to ask God for clarity, He continued to provide evidence repeatedly that this was His plan and I needed to trust Him and move. So, I applied to the IMMERSION Gap Year program. The program encompasses three months in Costa Rica and six months in Africa serving in South Africa, Lesotho, and Namibia. During this waiting period I was determined to convince myself that if God closed the door, I would be fine. That would be confirmation that I had been wrong and this wasn’t God’s plan.

My heart leaped when I heard I was accepted! I felt validated at that moment that I was right about God’s calling. That I had made the right decision to start this process and God was going to follow it through. Then God began to work His miracle.

My mom began to back my whole idea and help me get things sorted. However, there was still tension between my dad and me. As the acceptance date loomed closer, anxiety began to retake hold. God was right there saying “I got this.” My dad came to me one night and said, “I need to get on board with this. I need to be your biggest fan.”

This was the fruition of God’s miracle. I had full support from both of my parents. Suddenly, this was all very real! I was going to leave everything I had ever known to follow God. Then the “what if” questions started. What if I can’t do this? What if I don’t know what to say? Once again, God reminded me that He was in charge. My heart cry changed at that point too, “Lord, give me trust without borders.” So, I continued to move in the direction of God’s calling and accepted my spot on the team. It was real.

So, this is the story of how God brought me here. However, this is only the beginning; I haven’t even begun the real race. I’ve only just walked to the starting line. I’m preparing for the go signal. Then I will run. 

WIll you say YES? Check out all upcoming IMMERSION trips!


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