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Where Are They Now? RMM asks REACH alumni: “What is your new mission, post-REACH?”

Take Me Deeper

By Kristyn Byler

“Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders, let me walk upon the waters, wherever You would call me. Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander, and my faith will be made stronger in the presence of my Savior.”

Over the summer of 2014 I sang this song every week during worship times, and every time I sang it I asked myself, “Do I even know what I am asking for?” My thoughts would wander to times in the past when God had led me farther than I could’ve imagined, and how those times really did make my faith stronger and my trust more firm. Of course I wanted to go deeper than before – farther out on the water. Yet the question remained, did I really want more than what he has already led me through, to go deeper? More than the nights of feeling completely alone after our last family move? More than the struggles in Malawi, the fear in Tanzania, and the craziness in Uganda? More than my year internship in Columbus where I had to serve people even when I had nothing to give? Was MORE something I really wanted?

That word “more,” it scared me. It was easy to look back on my life and see the ways that God brought me through, the ways that he pursued me, strengthened me and molded me. Those times weren’t always good or easy, and normally I had no clue how things were going to work out. And that’s what I was asking for more of, more of the unknown? Crazy. And yet, I kept singing that song, arms raised high.

During the final months of my internship, life after it would end seemed daunting. The unknown was rapidly approaching. I had ideas, hopes, and dreams. But I also had all of those in the winter of 2013 and God rocked my ideas, hopes and dreams, and brought me to Ohio instead of Uganda. He took my plans and said “yeah, those aren’t bad, but here is something more, something unknown.” And it was incredible. I saw God work over that year in ways that were undeniably him. Why then, did the future seeming so overwhelming?

I’m human. Though I want to trust completely, though God has brought me through some crazy things, my flesh fights me. I questioned, “Is this really God talking or just me wanting to do what I want to do?” Doubts rose in me as I asked what the correct step was after my internship. These doubts made me waver; I almost gave in. Deep inside I knew that Columbus was where I should be in the next phase of my life, but a part of me just wanted to go home and be surrounded by my family. I missed them, and the idea of going home for Christmas, just to pack up all my belongings and leave again seemed too hard. It seemed like too much.

Deep inside me I knew, though. I knew that moving home wasn’t what God had for me. No matter how much that’s what I wanted it to be, I couldn’t ignore his call. So I made plans, not really knowing what I was doing. I was stepping out on my own for the first time in my adult life. And you know what? It was terrifying. It still is most days.

It has been just over a month since my parents and little sister formed a circle around me in our kitchen and prayed for me before I packed up my little car and drove out the driveway, leaving my home in the rearview mirror with my mom on the front porch tearing up and me in the car doing the same. It is a moment I won’t forget anytime soon.

Each day, Columbus is feeling more and more like home to me. There is just something about this city that I have come to love deep down. It’s not all the beautiful parks, the crazy number of ethnic restaurants, the fact there is always something to do, or the close proximity to pretty much any store I may want to shop at, though all of those things help. It is the knowledge that I am where God wants me right now. I may not understand it, and I still mess up lots of days, but God is working. He has called me out onto the waters of Columbus, and it is beautiful.

After questioning of whether ‘more’ is something I actually wanted, I find that it is what I long for. More of God in me, molding me into the person he wants me to be and drawing me nearer to him each day. He is my deepest desire. I am finding that the security of land is not what God has for me right now and that out on the waters is where I truly do want to be, because that’s where I find him.

“You call me out upon the waters, the great unknown where feet may fail. And there I find You in the mystery in oceans deep my faith will stand….Your grace abounds in deepest waters, Your sovereign hand will be my guide where feet may fail and fear surrounds me You've never failed and You won't start now.”

Kristyn is from Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania and Boyer Mennonite Church. In 2011, she was on a REACH team to Malawi and Kenya. In 2014, she interned as the Hospitality Assistant at the Rosedale International Center in Columbus, Ohio. In January Kristyn began her new job as Hospitality Manager at the RIC and is living in the North Linden area of Columbus. In her free time she loves to hang out with the friends she has made over the past year and explore the city. Other interests include reading, crafting and learning what it means to live healthier.