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  • Writer's pictureJeff Willecke

Jeff's Story

First I will apologize. Cheri has not proof read this yet. When I write I have a tendency to go down rabbit trails. Partner that with the fact that for good reason I have never been paid to proof read or spell check and you have my messy style of writing. Hopefully my posts can improve to an understandable point by the time I retire. :)

I grew up in church. I got to see my dad running sound and it was a privilege to be able to sit with him in the sound booth sometimes. It is no coincidence that in 6th grade, when the class needed someone to run sound for worship, I jumped in. Thus began a pattern that would become both a good and bad thing.

Let's fast forward to high school. I had continued a pattern of service in the church but something was missing. I wanted more. It can be difficult to step back and actually have a relationship with God when you are constantly serving him. Needing to step away from the constant pressure to serve constantly, my best friend invited me to visit his youth group. His youth group was unlike anything I had experienced before. Everyone was worshiping with complete abandon. Worship seemed to go on forever! This was a stark contrast to the normal 3-songs-and-a-prayer that I was used to. It was in these worship times that God began to reveal himself to me more. I began to hear God's voice. I started to pursue God in more of my life. All my heart wanted to do was to chase God in everything.

Through a long and very mundane series of events, I ended up working at a Church as the technical director. I thought that my job being ministry would now help me pursue God and further my relationship with him. I was wrong. I began to classify my job as my relationship, but there wasn't much of a relationship. Nonetheless my heart continued to desire a relationship and so I would do things that I thought would help me build my relationship with God, like discipleship classes and bible studies. What ended up happening was that my attitude of doing crept in and I still was unable to have much of a relationship with God while I was busy doing stuff for him. All of this did not hinder my ability to hear him as I had learned many years ago, but it did block my ability to do what he was trying to tell me to do.

Now, the greatest part of this job was that I had the ability to teach and train young people to worship God through technical arts and media. I would have continued here as long as I possibly could except for one day I began to feel that God was telling me it was time to step down from this position. This was tough for me and it induced a battle in my heart. I loved what I did but at the same time I needed to follow God. Finally after battling this for awhile I told Cheri. Together we decided that stepping down was probably right but, I wanted to go through one more set of Christmas eve services. This was in late August and I kept pressing God on the issue. I continued to feel that I needed to step down but, I wanted to make it until the first of the year. My reasoning was that it would make the best transition possible that way. But, the feeling was so strong that I finally prayed that God would "Make it obvious".

This is when I learned what a dangerous prayer really is because God did indeed make it obvious. The next day the pastor called me into his office and informed me that they would no longer be needing my services.What a relief! I'm not even sure that its ok to feel that way about something like that. It felt less like something had ended and more like an adventure had just begun.

With this transition Cheri and I decided to change churches and remove ourselves from the standard of constantly serving. It was tough not doing church and just attending for a change. It took me awhile to quit seeing problems with service flow and just chase God for a change. As I began to press into God and try to discover what He wanted me to do with my life now that I didn't have a job and it didn't seem as though he wanted me to have one. Every job that I would apply for that seemed like it would be a perfect fit would fall away as though they never received my resume. So, while I was waiting I began to volunteer for organizations providing video services that the normally would not be able to afford. After awhile of waiting and pursuing God and continuing to volunteer we found out we were expecting our first son! What an amazing thing. After all Cheri had never really expressed much interest in kids and I absolutely love kids! It made sense that I would be a stay at home dad! At the time I had no clue that our biggest problem would be the changing hormones of a new mother. Ultimately, once Daniel was born Cheri instantly wanted to become a Mother and enjoy every second of every day with our son! So we pressed God again. Would God provide a job that would sustain our family so that Cheri could be home with Daniel. Every time we prayed we kept feeling that the answer was NO.

The answer being NO was difficult on us. Even more difficult was the response we got from our family and friends that believed I should be the one in the family working. We still consistently felt that I should not go out and get a normal job. The pressure continued to mount as we found out that we were expecting our second child. There is no way Cheri would tolerate going through the separation of another child as she needed to go back to work again. So, back to God we went. Still no on the job but we felt like we were getting closer.

During this whole process I would tell God that I would do anything for him but I wanted to keep our house and comfortable life. I know now that I should have really been paying attention to my but. My heart wanted to follow God anywhere but my brain wanted to stay comfortable. Admittedly it took far to long for me to realize what I was doing. God wanted all of me with no strings attached. So I gave in, my will should never be stronger than Gods will for my life after all. I really should have kept track but I don't think it was very long and I kept feeling like YWAM was the answer for everything that I had been praying for.

I guess to explain this I should rewind a bit. Ever since I got married I felt that God was going to do several things. First, he was going to give us a way to pay off all of our debt so that we could follow him uninhibited. and second, He would give us something that would encompass both Cheri and My passions. Well, YWAM will take care of the second and I really should have paid attention to the first be cause selling our house is taking care of any debt that we have and allowing us to follow God completely uninhibited.

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