This month’s Impact Award is awarded to one of our members in our LeadHer local chapter in Bolivar, Missouri. This chapter meets at Southwest Baptist University and strives to challenge students and staff to grow in their faith and leadership. Paige has been connected to this chapter in a season where God has been challenging her to step out of her comfort zone. She is boldly walking out in faith as she is going where God has called her. Below, Paige shares some of her story in her own words:
“There I was, stepping on a boat to embark on an unexpected journey. It was a journey fraught with unknowns, yet I didn’t question its impossibility. Although I was leaving the shore’s security, I had faith because the water was calm and the sun was leading the way. As I continued my journey I saw a storm approaching. Even though I saw it position itself in my path, I could still see the sun shining through cracks in the storm clouds and I had hope as I saw an opportunity to brace myself for its impact. But instead of deepening my faith, I became transfixed by the storms intensity and I lost sight of the sun. Then as it hit, my shallow faith was uprooted and the hole where it once was flooded with doubt and fear. I felt myself sinking as the waves consumed me..
The only “constant” in the past year of my life has been the fact that everything is changing. My husband Erik is in his final year of PT school, which means that he is currently traveling around the country to various clinical sites as he completes his education. I had always envisioned traveling with him during this season, but the Lord made it clear that He had other plans. Living apart from Erik and continuing my work and ministry at home has been the biggest challenge in my current journey, but little did I know that would only be the beginning of a season of change and unexpected decisions in my life.
Over the summer, I was desperately seeking authentic conversation and fellowship with other women when my friend Kristina Penland started a LeadHer chapter on the campus where I work. In June, I attended my first LeadHer meeting, and the message on trust challenged me to my core. Initial faith is easy, but unless that seed is fed and watered, it will never grow deep roots or bear fruit. I identified with the story of Peter walking on the water in Matthew 14, and as I envisioned what he saw and felt, I realized I was in a similar place. I had stepped out on the water with shallow faith and was quickly overcome by doubt and fear, fixing my eyes on the struggles rather than on Jesus. Yet, when I began to sink, it was the outstretched arms of Christ, full of grace and mercy that rescued me, leaving me with a hope that could not be explained by my circumstances.
After traveling to Ethiopia last winter on a mission trip, I was offered the opportunity to lead a team there in January 2016. Although it had been an incredible experience, I never imagined returning, much less being the leader. Once again though, the Lord had very different plans, and I found myself connecting with a group of nine college students who shared my heart for Africa. My co-leader and I have spent the last semester preparing our team to serve women in Ethiopia who have been enslaved to a life of prostitution. We will be working with Ellilta Women at Risk (EWAR), a ministry that seeks to bring hope, freedom, and new life to these women through counseling, job training, and the truth of Jesus. In addition to providing them with the necessary skills to provide other sustainable means of income for their families, our hope is that these women will come to understand the heart of the Savior and His power to rescue and restore no matter how battered and broken they feel.
It is a powerful, yet difficult ministry, both in Ethiopia and here at home. No matter the outward story, the inward battle is the same, as Jesus fights for my heart, my focus, and my trust. He invites me to walk on the water and do the impossible in His strength, yet my fears try to limit Him and His purpose. My prayer as I return to Ethiopia is that the Lord will use us to encourage, challenge, and equip these women to be the faithful LeadHers God has created them to be as they take steps of faith into a new future and a new hope.”
We want to invite you to be in prayer the next few months as Paige is traveling on this new journey. As you pray, if you feel led to financially support Paige, please follow instructions below:
- Click here.
- Select amount, then click continue.
- Choose “CGC General Missions Gift”
- Specify it is for Paige Dugal Arve.