Most fellows are starting to feel the pressure with the program wrapping up its 6th month, and we are starting to think about what is next. We are giving a lot of thought space to jobs in particular. I know for myself, January was a month of affirming who God made me to be through our Vocation and Calling Retreat which helped to reframe the way I view work and ministry in monumental ways. It has shifted my perspective in how ministry truly is a part of every aspect of a person’s life. In this process, I have been affirmed in the gifts God has blessed me with for youth ministry. Young Life over the past 4 years has been the avenue that I used these gifts. It has given me the space to pursue what it would look like to do full time ministry as a job.

Over my lifetime, there have been many times where I can point to that fueled my desire to pursue youth ministry. So as I look to what is next, my heart and mind have been telling me a job doing youth ministry. I decided to reapply for Young Life staff here in the Carolina region. Last year I went through the process and was placed in a town that was not a good fit. I am thankful now on the other side because it has led me to the Raleigh Fellows program. I began the process again in late January, interviewed at the beginning of February, and heard back last week that again I was not a good fit. Throughout this entire process, I continued to pray and seek God in all of this knowing that I needed him in this.

Last year when all of this did not work out, I was pretty shaken in my identity, my calling, and my relationship with the Lord. I wasn’t a good fit? What does that mean? Again I got the same answer, but this time around was drastically different in how I handled the situation. The program has taught and pointed me to where my identity, calling, and relationship with the Lord are rooted. This time around when processing the letdown, I found myself not questioning or doubting, but seeking Jesus to guide me in this. I am not saying I was not disappointed or hurt, but I understood where and from whom my foundation is set in. I still firmly believe the Lord has gifted me for youth ministry. The devil has tried to snare me and feed me lies about my identity, my calling, and my relationship with the Lord, but I have sought to flee the other way.

This year has not turned out to be according to my plans, but the Lord has had something so much richer for me. When I joined the fellows program, I said it was a stepping stone to Young Life staff here in the Carolina region. As my plans have been flipped around, I still know and believe the Lord has something for me. He has created and given me my gifts, passions, and desires. He has continually been with me in each step as I step out of the boat of comfort and on to the water for Jesus. My plans cannot and will not hold any weight to what the Lord has envisioned. My gifts and desires point to youth ministry; now I get to knock on doors to see if opportunity is there. I do not know where I will be or what I will be doing, but Jesus is with me and equipped me uniquely as I am slowly figuring this out.

Please join me in praying as each of us are discerning, applying, and trying to figure what is next after the Fellows program.

Richie Rojas