If you’ve been following along with the blog, you know how we got to this place in life from a spiritual perspective. If you know us personally, you also know the story behind Be The Change Youth Initiative. If you don’t, you can learn more about the back story here. (If you’re on Instagram, you can also follow along with that adventure here.) But, if you’re only interested in the Cliff’s Notes version, here you go. (Just kidding… there are no Cliff’s Notes versions for anything in our life. Nothing.) But, in the next four posts, I’m going to explain how we became full-time RV missionaries… followed by all the CRAZY stories from the road.
About four months after leaving the last church, which also meant Sydney leaving her position as a worship leader, our family went on a missions trip to Eleuthera (October 2016). Sydney was invited back to the island for a month long internship where she would help lead worship at a local church and at the camp, as well as teach guitar lessons to the local kids. However, about two months before she was set to leave, the company responsible for the trip filed for bankruptcy. Long story short: We lost the money we paid for her trip, our deposit for a future family mission trip, and 33 high school credits for future classes (equating to approximately $10,000).
Given everything else going on with life during that time, Sydney became incredibly depressed and couldn’t understand why God kept closing doors when it came to using her gifts for music. About 24 hours after the news, I was scrolling through Sydney’s Instagram account and found a post from her favorite worship group, All Sons and Daughters. They had just wrapped up a European tour and were auctioning off a few of their things as a fundraiser for Hands & Feet Project. One of those items happened to be a tour of their studio in Franklin, Tennessee, followed by lunch with the duo.
The thought of bidding on something destined to reach astronomical heights made me want to vomit. Remember, we just lost $10,000. (Side note: Because we used our credit cards… Sorry, Dave Ramsey… we got $6,500 back!) But, I’m not quite sure you can put a price tag on encouraging your child given the circumstances of our lives over the previous six months. So I called my husband, told him about the auction and held my breath. And, honestly, to my surprise, he agreed with my assessment. But, he also gave me a cap…. a cap I reached after only 3 HOURS INTO THE 3 DAY AUCTION. (It was a nice thought and it really would have encouraged her, but no one ever wins these things except rich people. Well… that’s what I thought, until three days later, when I got the email saying I won.)
I’m not quite sure how to articulate my shock. The bidding for those three hours had been back and forth with multiple people increasing the price every 10 to 15 minutes. The fact that it just stopped at my last bid is inexplicable…. probably because it was God. Looking back over the past two years, EVERYTHING stems from that trip to Nashville to visit David and Leslie. It was on that trip that we were introduced to Mark Stuart. (I’ll share about that in the next post.) They also introduced us to one of our future board members, who was the Youth Ministry Pastor at David’s church. But, arguably, the most pivotal moment came after lunch when David and Leslie invited us back to the studio.
As we entered the front room, Sydney, Leslie and I took a seat as David disappeared into another room. When he returned, he was holding a guitar, which he gave to Sydney, as he said, “Alright kid, show me whatcha got.” Imagine being 15-years-old and asked, by one of your favorite musician in the world, to share something you’ve written. It was like a scene out of a movie and, little did we know, the lead domino to fall in a never-ending cascade of dominoes… that continue to fall.