Breaking My Stride

I lived and moved with the world for a long time. For far too long, my feet fit in the shoes society handed to me, my stride agreeing with the rhythm culture had constructed. I might of told you Jesus was there too and, looking back, I know He was. I’d let you know I never let Him past the walls I built around me, though. I kept like that for years.

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Eighteen years, actually. But, at year eighteen, something changed. The world didn’t fill me like I’d always expected it to. I cried out for something more. I yearned for something different. To love boldly but to be loved even bolder, to find something that mattered more than this life. Little did I know that I was crying out to God. Little did I know that the walls I put up never kept Him out. I cried out to God and I found myself already in His arms. It was a game changer to find Him. At the time I had been making college plans for the year to come. I had a full ride and guaranteed job placement post-graduation, everything I could ask for. But the moment I found myself in the arms of God, I changed route immediately. I became a missionary.

Without knowing what I was getting myself into, I hopped on a plane to Amsterdam where I learned about who the Lord is. I learned of unconditional love and abounding grace. I came alive in a way I didn’t know I could. This love story was transformative. Knowing Jesus was metamorphic. I found myself immersed in a joy I couldn’t help but share. My heart learned of a love it couldn’t contain. I wanted more and more people to know about this Jesus I’d met. I needed to tell the world. I spent three months in Amsterdam before I hopped on another plane to Southeast Asia. There, I spent another three months working with local ministries in Thailand, Myanmar, and Laos. I shared the Christmas story in a closed country on Christmas day. I saw people who refused the idea of any God be healed of lifelong pains and change their minds. I met trafficked women and together, we redefined their definition of love. Jesus moved like a wildfire throughout Asia in a million different ways. It was unlike anything else I’ve experienced.

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After my time in Asia came to a close, I returned to America, but found that God didn’t want me to stay put for long. In only a month I will be returning to Amsterdam as a full time missionary. By doing so, I hope to aid people from around the world in going through the same transformation I did. My main focus will be staffing an Arts + Missions Training School. Through this, my heart is to see young artists collide with the love of God in order to make Him known. The weekdays will be spent arranging lectures for students where they’ll learn about the world of missions and arts place in it. Together, we will minister to Amsterdam’s homeless, tourists, those in the Red Light District, and more. From there, I will lead a three month cross-cultural outreach to somewhere in the nations. There we will put into practice all the students learned by partnering with local ministries and introducing people who never knew Him before to God. Aside from that, I will be serving a local missions base and the people living there or coming through.

I’m giddy over it all; however, there’s a few steps to take before booking a one way to Amsterdam. The biggest thing being that the Dutch government requires a minimum of a $1500 monthly income BEFORE I’m able to arrive in their country. As a missionary, paychecks don’t exist; so, I’m looking for a team of people willing to join me financially, prayerfully, and relationally. Before anything else, I’m searching for the church to back me up.

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More and more I’m realizing that we see God move in miraculous ways when the church rallies together for His glory. I want people who believe in that to embark on this journey with me. If that’s you, if you are willing and feel called to join my team as a one time giver or a monthly donor, I would be thrilled. I so look forward to welcoming you in and bringing you along. I never could have expected this calling placed on my life, and for that, I know it’s only by the grace of God that it comes to fruition.

A year ago God was a stranger. Today He’s a friend I can’t wait for the world to meet. I want to introduce everybody I see to Him. My stride matched with the world’s for far too long. I believe mine has changed so others can as well.

To donate, click here: ashtonperle.com/donate.
To follow her journey, click here: instagram.com/ashtonmsperle.

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