Obstacle or Opportunity

By Hannah Trautwein, Partnership Coordinator

This month our 2017 housing church voted on whether to have Next Step back for summer 2018. I had prayed along with many others, in the days leading up to the vote. I prayed that the church would be open to another summer, that we could continue to work with members we had come to know and love, but ultimately, I prayed honestly that God’s will would be done and His plans would be accomplished.

I prayed that… but that’s not what I wanted.

What I wanted was to stay in the same place, be comfortable working with the same people, to have a logistically easy planning period and that I would know what I was getting into in summer 2018. But nonetheless I prayed that God’s plans, not mine, would be accomplished.

I know, deeply, that where God wants us, and what His plans are for us, are much better than anything I could create myself.

And because I went into this vote with an open mind to what God’s plans were, I knew that I would generally be okay if things didn’t go my way. And they didn’t. Our 2017 house church voted no, and I can’t say I wasn’t disappointed at all. I went to bed that night feeling a little bit defeated, a little bit sad, and very reminded that I’m not in control.

Then the next day, I woke up, went to work, and this happened (without telling ANYONE about the vote yet!) 

“I’ve been stressing all day about Next Step. How can I help? We HAVE to make this work! We will figure something out!”

“Give me a call when you can, I have some ideas for housing that you should look into.”

“I’ve already asked my pastor and he’s interested in talking with you soon.”

Friends from Clendenin had heard the news from a member of the church, and immediately started calling and texting, wondering how they could help. God was working through other people to encourage me when I was worried about what the future would bring. His love was on full display, and I’m thankful that with prayer, and the peace that accompanied those prayers, I wasn’t too upset to see His faithfulness plainly.

When we believe that God opens and closes doors for a reason, we can see obstacles as opportunities.

I’m hopeful to see how God works in our housing planning effort, but even more so, how he works in the summer of 2018. Maybe we will be closer to Clendenin so that more neighbors have access to join us for worship and come to know Christ in a deeper way. Maybe we will be in the same area and give members of a different church a chance to serve their community in a way they didn’t know existed.


Whatever it is, I know God has a plan, and I’m so excited to see what it is.