By Hope Saunders
Hope here! If you don’t already know me I’ll take a moment to introduce myself. I am the 3rd oldest of 4 children in the Saunders family and the oldest daughter. I am a sophomore in Highschool and, of all the subjects that I have had the opportunity to study, my favorites are Math and Music. As I was talking with my parents about what I had learned through the process of moving to Oklahoma, they asked me if I would be willing to share some of that with you all today. I agreed, so here we are! The process of moving truly started for me in early 2019, It was a snowy day in February when my dad first presented to our family the possibility of joining ITG and moving to OKC. At that time the thought of uprooting myself from everything I had ever known, and moving across the country seemed ridiculous. In the many ensuing conversations that I had with my family (most of them with my dad), we reached the conclusion that it was ok for me to pray against moving to Oklahoma, and boy did I! We went down to visit Oklahoma for a week in May of 2019, and to be honest with you, I did not have a good attitude at all. We did many fun things while we were there but despite all that, I was determined to dislike Oklahoma. Even through all of that my brother William and I decided to come down for 2.5 weeks in June and participate in Operation Impact or OI as Summer Missionaries. It was through this experience that God softened my heart, and showed me that his plan for our family was to move. I will never forget the moment that I realized that it was God’s plan, not my dad’s, to move to OKC. We were riding home from OI, and the majority of the way back I had been dealing with the thought that God might be calling our family to move. Shortly after we got to MN, I broke down crying and told my parents that, even if I didn’t like it, God had made it clear to me that we were supposed to go. I’m not going to sit here and tell you all that after that conversation everything was all sunshine and roses, because it was not. There were many tears, and countless times that I would remember something that I would miss about Minnesota and cry some more. But it wasn’t until a dear friend of my mom’s told me something that my perspective changed. She said “It’s ok to be sad and mourn the loss of the incredible blessings you experienced here, but, remember that God will do more that we could ask for or even imagine when we follow him.” Wow, as I thought through what she had said, God helped me to trust him and his plan. And I am so grateful that He did!
God has provided an incredible group of friends and mentors for me here in OKC. He has also given our family the gift of a wonderful church and youth group. In closing I believe that God gives us all moments in our lives that we can look back on and be encouraged. Through little moments that I experienced before we moved, I was able to see God’s heart and his goodness. And through those experiences, I had the ability to look back on them while going through the difficult process of moving and see his faithfulness. A verse I stumbled across a while back sums this up pretty well: