If you have seen The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, think back to when the movie started. Bilbo was very content in his house. Bilbo seemed to be very comfortable with his creature comforts such as spoons, doilies, and proper manners. Then a pack of dwarfs come in and destroy all of his comforts with their lack of manners and lack of concern for Bilbo’s dinner time rituals. The dwarfs and Gandalf drag Bilbo on this extraordinary adventure that can be read about in the book The Hobbit or seen in the three movies. Had the dwarfs and Gandalf not come around and invaded Bilbo’s everyday routine, Bilbo would most likely have never left his home in the Shire.
I had my whole summer planned out. I am a type A planner. After realizing that I could not return to camp this summer, I was given the amazing opportunity to intern at Gathering Point Church of the Nazarene. This meant that I would be at Olivet over the summer while doing an internship. So, I began to plan the other things I would do, which included, but was not limited to: teaching myself French, lifting on a vigorous routine, working another job during the mornings, being a summer resident assistant, and reading an ancient history textbook. Now, there are a few things on this list that could raise some questions, such as why French? I am very passionate about French history and more specifically, the Dechristianization period of the French Revolution (1793-1794). I have come close to finishing one book by a French historian named Michel Vovelle that was translated into English. To further study this time period I had to know French so that when I researched it more I could read the primary documents. Also I am looking into doing a church plant with Extreme Nazarene Mission when I graduate in either France or Germany so at least knowing French now would help me in the future. This is just one thing that I planned to do with my free time this summer along with many other personal projects. This was going to be my summer and I had it all perfectly planned with zero stress or worries about it.
Then one day I received an email from Jennifer McClellan, the missions coordinator at Olivet, asking if I could drop by her office. I thought that his might have something to do with ASC, but I had a thought in the back of my mind. This thought whispered “what if she offers you a spot on the France team?” I quickly disregarded that thought because there was no way that a spot on the France team would be opening this late in the year because it was already late March. After class I went into Jennifer’s office and sat down. She started by saying “Now I have an idea, so just bear with me.” I leaned in to hear what she had to say. The next thing Jennifer said was “I have a spot open on the France team and I want you to go.” It’s important for you, the reader, to know that Jennifer knew nothing of my passion for French history, my feel of a call to Western Europe, or my plan to teach myself French this summer. Jennifer told me the trip would be three weeks in the Summer and that the cost is $2,100. She also told me she needed an answer by tomorrow. Jennifer told me to pray about it and let her know tomorrow.
I left Jennifer’s office torn between what I had planned for my summer and what was just offered to me. I left Jennifer’s office and immediately went to Kelly Prayer Chapel and started praying with the knowledge that going to France would be a longshot. I did not have $2,100 or three weeks to just give up. Summer resident assistants aren’t supposed to have that much time off and plus I knew that I had to take off a week this summer to go on vacation with my family. There were a lot of obstacles. I spoke with God and let him know that I am willing, but he is going to have to move for this to happen because as things are currently I can’t just say yes. To say yes to France as things are would be unfair to my internship at Gathering Point, my bank account, and my Resident Director. Those three things were the main hurdles that God had to overcome for me to go to France. I called up specific people and got them praying and just waited to see what God would do.
Well, tomorrow came, and none of my stocks that I owned had made me $2,100 so I figure that it just wasn’t my time. I was okay with having to say no. My whole summer was planned out the way I thought it should go and I knew that most likely I would get over to Western Europe after I graduated. Later the next day I went into Jennifer’s office and explained how nothing had changed so it must not be my time. Jennifer then asked me “if finances were not an issue, what would be your number one obstacle?” I told her my internship. She told me to call my boss. So I called Mark, the youth pastor that I would be interning for and we dialogued. In my mind, no one would give an intern four weeks off during the summer, so I was prepared to get a “no” from Mark. However, I explained everything that had happened so far and affirmed that I would agree with whatever decision that Mark made. I did not want to be unfair to Gathering Point because I had already committed to them. To my amazement Mark agreed to give me the three weeks off for France and a week off for vacation with my family. God had just overcome the first hurdle.
Then I called a few key people in my life explained to them everything that was going on. I didn’t expect to get much support France financially. To my surprise some of them agreed to support France financially along with the fundraising that I would be doing. The financial piece was largely within reach. God overcome the second hurdle.
I talked to my Resident Director and we dialogued about the time off that I needed. There was no way that I could go to France and be a summer resident assistant, so I made the decision to give up that position. God had overcome the third hurdle.
Before I knew it I was back in Jennifer’s office accepting the position to go to France. I can’t comprehend how God always works. There I was excited to go to France while at the same time a large portion of my summer plans were in shambles. I no longer could pick up a second job which means that almost all the money I make this summer would go towards literally living for the summer. I could have said no to France and been content with waiting until post-graduation to serve in Western Europe, but my timing is not God’s timing.
If this story were made into a movie it would probably be called Tommy Lambrecht: An Unexpected Journey. This story is not finished yet though. There is still the bulk of the journey to live out. There are ways that you, the reader, can be involved.
- Not just for me, but the entire team that is going to France. There are six students including myself and two leaders. We are excited to be joining in what God is already doing in France and ask that you join in this mission through prayer. Your prayers make a difference.
- If this story spoke to you at all I encourage you to consider making a financial donation. Giving is a way that we can express gratitude to God for what he has already given us. This contribution would mean a lot for me because I don’t have all of the finances, but I continually trust that the Lord will provide. There will be a link at the end of this post if you would like to donate.
- Spread the word. Tell others. If more people are aware then more people can be praying. Not just for me, or even my team, but all of the Missions In Action (MIA) teams going out this summer.
This journey that Bilbo ended up going on in The Hobbit would change his life and the life of the people he encountered forever. Bilbo left the comforts of what he knew for something he originally didn’t want because of how it interrupted his daily life. In the same fashion, I am leaving the comfort of my beautiful schedule for something I believe that God wants me to do. I need the support not just of God, but the community surrounding me. Please consider getting involved in one of the three ways mentioned.
Also, the trip since this story has lowered in price to $1,900. So that’s a huge blessing!
Instructions for donating:
-Go to this link: http://programs.olivet.edu/mia/home
-click on “Donate Here”
-Under “Missionary Trip” find “Lambrecht, Tommy France (Jun)”