Kristen Uppendahl - MTLWhen Dan and Amy first asked me to come alongside them in their vision for Antioch and the city of Ypsilanti, I was non-committal at best. I had spent almost twenty-five years as a student and for the first time was about to experience what life would be like without trying to meet a deadline for school, reading another book, or preparing for a test. I was caught in a cross roads of who I thought I was, and who I wanted to be all while questioning my identity in God’s kingdom.

With a couple of Masters degrees under my belt, (Divinity and Clinical Psychology), and no clue how to put them into formidable use, I decided to take January and February as a Sabbatical. It was during this sabbatical that I sensed God’s leading in becoming ordained and seek Military Chaplaincy.

All seemed to be going smoothly, until the day I met a rock. On October 17th, I was rip-sticking (a cross between a skateboard and a snowboard) when I hit a rock and broke my elbow. The break was severe enough to require surgery, and have three screws put in. Consequentially, the military physical I was supposed to have, has had to be postponed until I know if I will regain full range of motion.

So where did that leave this ministerial candidate?  Back to asking myself questions of identity. I came to realize that identity is not in what we do, but who we are. So who am I? I am one who loves to come alongside people and encourage them to get to where they are going. The people I resonate with in scripture are Barnabas, and Onisiphorous. Both men sought to encourage and pray for people in their journey. I am also one who loves to create music for the Kingdom and want to use it for His glory. More so, I am one who loves well. I see value in every human life and desire nothing more than to help people see that they were made for so much more than this. That they are loved and that they matter.

So, the second time Dan approached me about Antioch, I saw how I had been Jonah. I had run from the city God had called me to love, serve, and live in, because I wanted a different path. I am thankful He graciously brought the opportunity back around and that He has taught me how much He cares for those who feel forgotten.

Since saying yes to God, I have been blessed to meet people in coffee shops that have changed my life, and people in the park that I have had the opportunity to pray alongside. As a Mission Team Leader, I get to lead discipleship groups, have intentional conversations with people in the community of Ypsilanti, and help raise up leaders that will be sent in to spread the message of Christ. Ultimately, I have the opportunity to love and live in a community that has welcomed me home.

I cannot do this alone however, and would love your help in partnering with me to further the movement of discipleship in Ypsilanti. It is my responsibility to raise $48,000 and I am trusting God for 40 people to give around $100 per month over the course of 2014. Would you prayerfully consider partnering with me?

Join Kristen’s Team Here: donate-00

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