Let me just digress a minute and say that if the handsome young man above had come to the door the first time I met him, I would not have been nearly as hesitant to let him in as I was. In fact, he had to call my daughter-in-law to confirm she knew him before I opened the door to him. Below is the person who rang the door bell and wanted to come in and visit, the day after arriving back in Granger, Indiana.
"When I came to West Point two years ago and prep school before that I felt called by God to be a soldier. I came to serve my country and my God. But to be honest with everyone I have always doubted if I was doing the right thing. In high school, I served in both middle school ministries and with 2nd and 3rd grade kids. Serving the youth is what makes my heart beat fast. I get excited the days I am able to do this. But should I do this full time? Should I serve in youth ministries full time? This is a choice I have talked to many people about. I have sought advice from wise council and prayed a lot about it. I feel like God wants me to do both. It seems I should serve in the military and work with youth. I do not know how that works but God does. And I continue to pray for his guidance.A few months ago I was sitting and thinking about this very thing. I was wrestling with God asking Him questions and seeking answers. Then I had a Genesis 12:1 moment. God told me to “Go!!”“Go where Lord?” I asked.“Go to Israel and leave behind your friends and family. I want you to spend a year focusing on me.”This hit me like a bunch of bricks. God wants me to leave? I did not know what to do. Do I leave? How do I get there? What will people think? But God began to open doors.
After making the arrangements with West Point, Patrick then had to face the fact he didn't have any money, so here began a campaign by his church, Granger Community Church and family and friends to raise the necessary funds for such a long trip. This explains Patrick's commitment:
But then there is the obstacle of West Point. Will West Point let me leave and if so can Icome back? The answer to both questions is a big yes! West Point will let me leave for a year to do mission work, but the process is not without risk."
"I refuse to sit around and wait for someone else to do what God has called me to do myself." In an earlier post, I discussed that God has called me to Israel and that it was so strong I felt like God would send a whale down the Hudson river to swallow me up and take me there if I did not listen."God provided the necessary funds and Patrick arrived in Israel on September 28, 2011 to work with a family on their sheep farm.
This was Patrick's home away from home while watching the sheep. He shared with me that this was a blessed place where God protected him from the sun and elements but also provided a quiet place where Patrick was able to read the Bible through not once but twice during his time there.
This was his typical self-prepared lunch while in the pasture.
Patrick's day usually began around 5:30 a.m. and this is a typical sunrise that welcomed him each morning.
The sheep know the sound for meal time. Patrick wrote regarding this picture:
"When I see this everyday I ask myself. Am I this excited for the word of God? (my spiritual food)"One of the most interesting things Patrick shared with me was his 99 and 1 story.
Matthew 18:12-14 says:
12 “What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off?13 And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. 14 In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish.
One afternoon when it was time to take the sheep back to the corral area for the night, Patrick realized that all the sheep were there except one. He immediately remembered the parable as told by Jesus in Matthew 18 and knew he could not leave that one sheep out in the pasture all night. He left the dogs in charge of the "99" and went to look for the "1." Not far away he found the lost sheep had fallen into a well. After rescuing the poor thing, they realized it was blind and had not seen the hole. After medication, the sheep was recovered. But, this Biblical experience was so meaningful to Patrick as were so many other experiences in this Holy Land where Jesus actually walked and lived.
When it came time for Patrick to return home and get ready to go back to West Point, he reluctantly said "Goodby for now" to the sheep,
and to his home for 7 months.
This was a wonderful, and life-changing experience for Patrick but I'll let him wrap it up for you.
What I learned:
God became more alive than ever
Other cultures are just as, if not more, important than Americans.
Do not worry about tomorrow.
Take time to enjoy life, relationships are important
These have been the main things God has taught me in Israel. There are many more that I may never realize, but I know I have been changed for the better. I am more patient, calm, and collected. I see interruptions as God ordained opportunities and that people are more important than work.
I did not know when I first left for Israel why God was calling me to Israel or what I would accomplish there. But it was not about me accomplishing anything. It was about me doing my best to help the family I worked for, and to take time for God to work in me, to literally do a major surgery on me. And He did amazing things and I feel closer to God than I ever have before.Thank you Patrick for setting an example for all of us to seek what God would have us do and to be sensitive to His calling.
You will enjoy reading Patrick's personal account of this amazing experience at: