Rolls Royce, Ramen, and a Really Big God
My Journey with The Navigators
My adventure with The Navigators began when I was laid off from my work as a mechanical engineer.
I had worked five years with Rolls Royce in Indiana and England, and one year with a firm in New York. I enjoyed the challenge and adventure the corporate world offered, yet in the depths of my heart, I knew the longer I stayed and the higher I climbed on “the corporate ladder,” the stronger the hold corporate clutches would have on my life. The longer I stayed, and the more I said “yes” to advancement, the harder it would be to leave. And the desire to go a different direction had begun to germinate in my heart.
Along with wondering if there might be something else out there for me, my Christian boss helped me realize I had never fully surrendered my heart to Jesus. I resolved this right away and gave Jesus my life completely. Little did I know where that decision would lead.
The week I was laid off, God prompted me three times to look at Luke 11. He led me through this passage to “ask” Him what I should do next vocationally (going into ministry was a consideration), to “seek” what options a mechanical engineer could have in ministry, and to “knock” on some doors by applying to various ministries.
Through my brother who knew The Navigators from being involved in their ministry at the Air Force Academy, I eventually was connected to The Navigators Collegiate ministry and a possible job the Headquarters office. It appeared to be a perfect fit!
Except that it required raising funds.
I hadn’t set out on this journey into ministry to raise funds! Yet, I continued through the process of joining The Navigators because the job seemed perfect. Having surrendered my life to God so recently, I wasn’t going back out because of this new “catch.”
Along with asking God to confirm His leading to The Navigators, I started reading Daws, the biography of The Navigators founder, Dawson Trotman. I looked up every Scripture reference the book mentioned, and one evening after dinner as I was continuing through the book sitting on the couch in my parents’ living room, Revelation 3:8 struck me like a lightening bolt! After “asking, seeking and knocking,” God assured me He was “placing before me a door that no one could shut” (paraphrase). In that moment, I decided that with God clearly calling me to ministry, He would also fully provide. I accepted the position in the Collegiate office—and the responsibility to raise funds.
I attended EDGE fundraising training. I learned fundraising skills, but as an introvert, I felt overwhelmed. I looked at the dollar amount I needed to raise and the pile of names on my desk and wondered how I was going to get through this. It’s hard for me to be with people constantly, and it takes a lot of energy to talk about what’s on my heart with people I don’t know well. Then, this thought flashed to mind: I didn’t eat Ramen noodles in college, and I’m not going to start now as a Navigator! God clearly called me to ministry; He will provide all of my funding.
I dialed the phone.
During the following 12 months, I held more than 100 funding appointments.
A year into the funding journey and at 93%, I hit a crisis of faith. Exhausted, depleted, and still seven percent away from being fully funded, I was done. I couldn’t go on. I couldn’t even think about funding without crying. I spilled my heart out to God: “I’ve worked hard. I’ve done my part. Now it’s in Your hands to finish this. I’m moving to Colorado to begin my job!” Two months later, I was in Colorado, starting my new job—fully funded!
Here I was, a single woman, an introvert, entering ministry as support staff with no previous ministry experience. Some would have said (some did say!) I wouldn’t make it. Yet, I was confident in my calling; I believed in God’s promises to me. I even illustrated Isaiah 40 and hung this picture in my office to remind me that God was capable of providing for me beyond my comprehension. Because He is big.
My funding story is not about my ambition; it’s about God’s greatness. He called me to ministry, He directed my steps, and He has fully provided.
Next month I’ll tell some important lessons I learned through the funding process.
Contact Emily via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.