This past year will definitely go down in the record books as a crazy roller coaster! It all started with a carry over from 2010. I was wrestling with a lot of things spiritually that were induced by my trip to Kenya in November 2010. During that time of searching and confusion, I got involved in my first dating relationship. God taught me a lot through that. It didn’t work out for the obvious reason that we were in 2 different worlds spiritually. In the end (June), God used that relationship to reaffirm my spiritual convictions and set me on a path that pursued Christ more passionately than I ever had in my entire time as a Christian. More on that later…
Along with a relationship, 2011 started a 12-month program in Paramedic school. This proved to be the greatest challenge I’d ever encountered in my life. Over the course of the year, I encountered doctors, nurses, and military special forces who had at one point been through Paramedic school. They all agreed that it was the hardest thing they’d ever done as well. Because of juggling work, school, and clinicals, I lived out of my car a week at a time. Sleep was minimal and so was my social life. Unfortunately, there’s not a whole lot of stories to tell about my life in 2011 other than the countless emergency scenes I went on at work and clinicals.
Come the Fall, my school load had slightly lightened (that or I was use to the abuse by then), and I decided to go through firefighter school on top of Paramedic school which I regretted every minute of; but I made it through and have that under my belt. God was also teaching me lessons about what it means to live sold out for him. I’ve always had the mentality that my responsibility is no different than that of a pastor’s, but I reached a point of enlightenment in the Fall that I am a grown man and I can no longer fear confronting those older than me and challenging others to pursue Christ more.
An image came to mind that encouraged me. It’s that of a 16yr-old boy who falsified his age and now is on a shuttle boat about to land at Normandy on D-day. As the door drops, bullets are whizzing by, and friends are dropping dead all around him. He now realizes that he’s no longer a boy, but a man, and though there’s an overwhelming sense of fear in his innermost being, it’s time for him to man up and charge forward onto the beach. I feel that represents so well the feelings and thinking process that I went through this past year.
Since then, I’ve spent a great majority of my time during the week at a local coffee shop downtown called Remedy. Over time I’ve come to know all the workers and most of the customers. It’s proven to be a fantastic location for ministry. Multiple times a week I have opportunities for discipleship. Part of manning up is just cutting to the chase with people and asking them where they’re at spiritually. The conversations that have ensued have been incredible! On a number of occasions I’ll have other people who are listening jump into the conversation and in no time there’s an impromptu Bible study of 4–6 people.
Another blessing that Remedy has brought are the number of close relationships I’ve built with solid believers who are actively serving in their churches throughout Knoxville. Speaking of serving, I was convicted about the lack of service I had in my church. I felt that despite my insane schedule, there was no excuse or exemption for people not to serve in some way. So, I talked to my worship leader who’d been wanting me to play bass guitar and he lent me his to learn and start playing in worship. From there, I’ve now taken it upon myself to serve the church by encouraging other members to find areas to serve in by analyzing their gifts and if need be, creating ministry opportunities if something doesn’t exist already.
One other thing that God has challenged me to do this year is find someone that I can regularly disciple. It didn’t take long for me to find that person. I’ve been meeting with him weekly and doing an overview of the Bible as well as teaching systematic theology. I also work with him relationally by hanging out for recreational purposes at various times during the week.
The last thing that I can say is that in October I lost my job, and was without work for 2 weeks. God was good and provided me a position with the largest ambulance service in the world, but they were just starting up an operation in Knoxville. I was 1 of 8 people that was hired to be on the ground floor of this operation. It’s been the best job in EMS I’ve ever had or seen. My work partner has proved to be a very good friend that has gone outside of work and great mentor as I enter into the role as a Paramedic.
And that’s it in a nut shell. Now I’m a Paramedic. I’m very excited about the prospects for this coming year. I have a list of New Year Resolutions you can check out. Also, there’s some pictures of events from this past year.