My name is Christine Gerhart, I'm 28 years old and was born and raised in Omaha, Nebraska. I'm a graphic designer and a Christian (for about five years now). I found my relationship with Christ after going to an evangelical church (grew up Catholic). The head knowledge I grew up with become heart knowledge and my relationship with Christ became intimate and personal.
Ever since I can remember, I've had a goal of living outside Nebraska for at least one year of my life. For some reason, I've had an urge for adventure and didn't want to become a "lifer" (people who were born and raised in Nebraska and had never lived anywhere else). I was sure throughout my high school years that I would go to college out of state. But, as it happens in most cases, logic got in my way. I soon realized the cost of going out of state was unrealistic and soon found myself deciding between a two colleges in my hometown. Looks like I wouldn't reach my goal until after graduating.
For the record, I did apply for jobs out of state after graduating but none of them seemed to work out. Around that same time, I had become a new Christian and a full-time job at the church I was attending opened up. It was an opportunity too good not to take and was instrumental in my growth as a Christian. I also had the opportunity to go on my first short-term missions trip a year later with that church, which only increased my love for adventure and travel. It was terrifying to take a leap of faith and go to Africa for two and a half weeks, but the way I experienced God was something I wouldn't forget.
Life has a way of becoming routine and comfortable. After three years at the church, I found myself involved in a couple different ministries and my schedule was packed. My boss at the time encouraged me from time to time, that if I ever wanted to travel between jobs, I should check out a Torchbearers school in New Zealand that he and his wife attended a decade earlier. It seemed like a crazy idea, but being a single 25 year old, the thought seemed to linger as a possibility. I was surprised when I kept feeling nudges from God to look into going and that I should apply. Up to that point, my traveling had been all talk and God was slowly helping me put into action all the things I had said I wanted to do.
|Capernwray Bible School, New Zealand|
After getting accepted, I moved in with a few friends to save money for the next year. I also had the opportunity to work a second job as an art teacher in the inner-city for a ministry I was a part of, which was another way God provided funds for the next year. It's incredible to look back and see all that God was already teaching me before I had even stepped foot on a plane. He was building my trust in Him and His provision that comes on His timing.
|first day in New Zealand|
In July 2010, I left for New Zealand. I had never traveled internationally by myself. I arrived a few days early and had never stayed in a hostel by myself or navigated a foreign city by myself. Again, I found myself terrified and again, I felt a closer to Christ than I had ever before. God provided in so many ways. There are times I would pray for specific things that I needed for school and God would put it on someone's heart to give me money for the exact amount I was praying for. He blessed me at that first hostel with great roommates and even a room to myself the last couple nights. He gave me opportunities to share my faith in those first few days and this was all before I even got to the school.
|hiking in NZ|
The next of my life was incredible. I learn what it meant to truly trust God when you have no plan B. I was stretched and challenged just as much as I was encouraged and affirmed. I was living the dream I had in my heart for years but only with and through Christ could I have ever made it a reality. It was during that year that God put the question in my heart, "what if this is your new normal?". What He was asking was what if I turned this "year of adventure" into a lifestyle? A life lived in dependence of Him and with Him as my plan A and no plan B. It was a turning point in my life and I can't imagine where I would be had I not trusted Christ and went to New Zealand.
I still don't have a plan B. Right now, I'm back in Nebraska preparing to spend a year in India come August. I have no idea what I'll do after that, but I have confidence that God knows and He'll tell me what I need to know, when I need to know it. He has given me other dreams that I can't wait to see fulfilled through His grace and strength. He is faithful, sufficient and so patient in His calling of us to Himself, whatever that looks like.
Want to know more? Christine's shared her blog links... feel free to visit!