On the Wings of Change and The Road to Germany

Things have changed for me. No matter the outcome of a few weeks ago (March 17-27, 2017), something was going to change. Some of these changes are reflected here on stephanhughes.com. Other changes are reflected in my job status. Sadly, I had to step down as youth director a few weeks after returning home.

But lets back up a bit.

Let’s begin there, with my adventure to Colorado Springs.

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IMG_20170317_071449March 17-26, I spent 10 days in Colorado Springs. I was invited out for missionary candidate orientation with Greater Europe Missions. My flight out of Indianapolis was at 6 am EDT. My flight landed at Denver International at 6:45 am MDT. It was going to be a long day. Getting out of the terminal was tricky enough. It has a train that runs between them. That’s how big the airport is. I eventually got my bag and got the rental car to begin the drive down to Colorado Springs. It was a relatively¬†short drive. Just a little over an hour. This is no good. I couldn’t check into my AirBnB until 3 pm. It was right around 8 am when I left with the rental car. I was also hungry. Early mornings and travel will do that to a guy. I stopped off at a McDonalds to grab breakfast and a cup of coffee. I sat there for a little while. Part of the time people watching, part of the time trying to find something to do in Colorado Springs in the meantime, the whole time trying to stay awake.

It was a lovely drive. Even from the city of Denver, I could see mountains. MOUNTAINS. Not a cornfield in site. It was a beautiful sight to behold. Unfortunately, I was driving. On top of that, I was tired. Early morning flights will do that to a guy.

It was not a long drive to Colorado Springs. Once there, I had time to kill. About 6 hours. I meandered around shops. Tried to nap in the car. Eventually, I needed to eat lunch. I didn’t really feel like eating out again, so I went back to Wal-Mart¬†(where I had already picked up pens, a notebook, and tea) to pick up french bread, lunch meat, and a flavored water. The next task was to find a place to eat. This is how I discovered Pulpit Rock.

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I ate, and then I hiked for a while. If I wasn’t tired already(and I was), then I was going to be tired by the end of this hike. I hiked, and I hiked some more. Seriously, Pulpit Rock is a great view.

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And finally, enough time had passed for me to head to my AirBnB. It was just a private room, but that is all I needed. I finally cleaned myself up and took a nice long nap.

The first thing I remember is this: I felt uncertain. Saturday was a late start time. I had a bit of time to kill. I went back to Pulpit Rock to kill some time. It was a nice day. People were out with their dogs. This is how I met my new friend Taylor and the community of believers at Colorado Springs Christian Church. Connecting with fellow believers at random was needed. It helped put my heart at ease. I was invited to a dinner on Thursday.

After this, it was off to the first day of candidate orientation. It started out with a meet and greet of the new candidates. Surprisingly, my introverted nature didn’t kick in. For the most part, things are a bit of a blur after this. It isn’t that I can’t remember, it’s just that so much happened. We had a lot of information crammed into our skulls. We were interviewed, we had to be vulnerable in front of the whole group as we told out stories. We had committees poke and prodded. We learned and learned and learned. Uncertainty was rising in all of us.

There was also some free time. I was able to hang out with my fellow candidates and missionaries/staff at GEM IHQ. One of the more memorable places was Garden of the Gods.

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Tuesday came. It was the toughest of all interviews. It left me shaken. The result of the interview made me feel extremely uncertain. We wouldn’t know the results until the following day. I was not going to sleep well that night. We still had several sessions to go before the day was done. Whenever the speaker said something like “when all of you…”, my thought was always “All of us?”. Questioning whether or not I would make it. There was always, without fail, a quiet voice coming from elsewhere saying “Yes, Stephan, ALL of you.” This continued to later in the afternoon. The dreaded moment came earlier than expected. Tuesday night, they decided to tell us results. I was one of the first ones pulled aside. I had just fixed a cup of tea when this was announced. I was physically shaking. Brian (on of the guys on my discernment team) saw this and said “Breath. It’s good news.” When he told me that I was to be appointed, I broke down and cried. It was a massive relief.

This was a big moment for me. These interviews were tough. I didn’t think I faired well. I still have things to learn, but I was appointed! I was going to Germany! I was returning to Europe!

This is still early in the week mind you. With that being said, a massive weight was lifted from all of us. WE WERE ALL APPOINTED! This is rare. Greater Europe Missions is a tough organization to get into.

Honestly, I don’t remember much about Wednesday. The big thing about Wednesday is that we received our support schedules. In other words, we received information on how much we needed to raise. This came as a shock to most everyone. I look at mine and thinking “Well, I think I can do that.” Europe isn’t cheap, but spreading the Gospel is worth it.

Commissioning was Thursday. It was an exciting time for all of us.

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