My name is Collin Wenrich and I just want to take a minute to share a bit of my story with you. I have been to Africa for a combined 5 months so far, and I cannot wait to take this next journey around the world to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus: To the Glory of God!
Two and a half years ago I encountered God's majestic and pure love overseas in the Pearl of Africa. In reckless abandon, I surrendered my life to Christ not knowing yet unafraid of the journey and adventure that was before me. It was scary, it was new, it was unknown, but it was so exhilarating at the same time.
In January 2013, I left my comfort zone of Lynchburg, Virginia to step into the wilderness of Uganda, Africa three months after I rededicated my life to Christ. The overwhelming and undeniable presence of the Lord surrounded my every being. Joy and peace manifested in every which way, from the way I saw the world to the way I viewed myself. I was not perfect by any means, but Christ was restoring me from the inside out. He delivered me from myself, my low self-esteem, my lack of joy and zeal for life and people, and anxiety and fear that masked every emotion I had. "Come to me my son, rest in my arms, receive my love," were the words that the Lord placed in my heart. These words continually flooded my heart, becoming more and more clear every time I allowed God to move.
Uganda was such a pivotal time in my life because it was where I gained ownership of my own relationship with Christ. Our relationship became personal, became intimate, became real. The people of Uganda, from small villages to larger cities, taught me about the characteristics of Christ. I learned about sacrificial love and how Christ's love does not keep a record of wrongs, yet He loves each one of His children 100% ALL OF THE TIME! It was hard to fathom that my heavenly Father could love me, a filthy disobedient sinner who walked outside of his glory for so many years. A glory bomb, the reality of it, is that Christ's love blows all of our paradigms of love. It hopes the best and see the best in each one of us no matter what the circumstances. Christ weeps when His people turn their back on Him, and He throws a party every time one receives His love. Psalms 5:7 states that "But I, by your great love, can come into your house; in reverence I bow down toward your holy temple." It was no longer about what I did or what I had to do, rather it was because of HIS LOVE! His love set me free, His love broke the chains, His love opened the doors and allowed me to enter. It was not of my own strength or anything I did, but it was all CHRIST! After God revealed all of this to me He gave me a vision:
As I climb this ladder directed at the heavens I grow weary fast. The pegs on the ladder seem to never end and every step I take I can feel the strength and energy being sucked out of my body. I strive for one more step, I strive to be closer to God. I do everything in my will and power to muster the strength just to get one step closer to my King. But nothing seems to work anymore. My body aches and as I look up at the heavens, it seems just as far away as when I started. So I look behind me. It’s Him, it’s Christ waiting with His arms out, stretched open for me. "Come to me my son, rest in my arms, receive my love." It was at that point that it became so real to me. It was not about what I could do, about how much of the Bible I could read or regurgitate, or about how many prayers I could say in one day. It was not about how many people I could help or about how many nice things I could do for others. NO......It was about Jesus Christ and only Him. He was the one that opened the heavenly gate so that I may enter. The more I allowed God to work in me, the more I surrendered myself to Him, the more I continued to seek His face, the more intimate our relationship would go. Being one with Christ at such a deep level propels us to read His word, to pray, to love others! Its fighting these battles and checking off tasks in our own strength that sometimes makes us feel more distant than ever before.
Our calling is to love and be loved so deeply and intimately that we cannot attain it by any other means but Christ. Let the world see the light that shines and always continues to shine. Let His presence be known and let His love be felt. Let His joy overtake and revitalize, and let His hope bring peace to the weary. Let His freedom reign.