Oasis

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*The following reflection was written by one of CLDI’s newest interns, Colin Sauskojus. We are thankful for His provision of such gifted, talented, and Jesus-oriented young people to further our gospel work in the South Side of Billings.

At this time, I was in the finals week of my senior year of college at the University of Wyoming (UW). While I was taking some challenging courses, I wasn’t stressed about any tests, papers, or getting my diploma. However, I was stressed about what I should do next. I had been extended the offer to pursue a graduate program at UW to research something I had been interested in for years: interconnections between individual’s communications and relationships, and how these tie to our uses of natural resources. It had been my dream for a long time to get a master’s degree or higher, researching the subjects and knowledge that interest me. Consequently, I had also not received any job offers despite weeks of searching, applying, and interviewing with different companies. Notwithstanding these circumstances, I had no idea what God wanted me to do.

So there I sat in the campus library, on the phone with my three best friends, discussing the pros and cons of doing this graduate program. They all were mostly against the idea of me staying in Wyoming as they expected my wife and I to move closer to our friends and family. I was pretty convinced that I wanted to do the program though. I felt like two more years wasn’t too long of a time period considering we had already been in Wyoming for three years. Plus, the program was going to be a fraction of the cost if I were to do it somewhere else! It seemed perfect. After finishing my call with my friends, I had made up my mind. I went home to my wife, Sierra, and told her that I felt like we should stay. Fast forward a few days; things were moving quickly. Our landlord extended our lease, my letters of recommendation were coming into the program, and my internship work was extended into the beginning of the summer. I was accepted.

After graduating the next week, Sierra and I spent a few more weeks in Wyoming before taking a trip to see family. If only I could communicate the absolute misery and dejection of those upcoming weeks in words, I would. I have always been more in touch with my emotions than not, but never like this. The weight of my decision constantly hung over me. I wept multiple times. It was the darkest, loneliest, most depressing time I have experienced. To compound the situation, I had just come through a yearlong spiritual desert and was desperately seeking refreshment from God.

Leaving Wyoming for our scheduled trip ended up being a breath of fresh air. Seeing our family and friends was such a treasure and encouragement. One of these friends had just returned from a yearlong mission trip all across Central and South America. Her family was throwing a welcome home party for her and invited me over. That party is where my introduction to CLDI occurred. Her mom, who works at CLDI, said she was looking for some help supervising some high school volunteers for about a week. Since I didn’t have a job at that point and was looking for a way to spend my time, I told her that I would gladly help. When that week rolled around, multiple times she asked me to think about the internship she had told me about. She pressed and pressed in the best way possible. I kept telling her that I was praying and would discuss it more with Sierra when I had the chance. God was working through her.

Looking back, I had the most fun that week than I had had in a long time. It was clear Jesus’ love and purpose were abounding in CLDI’s building, employees, and work. It was such a pleasure to help and be useful. To feel as if I had purpose touched my heart and fed my soul. I was ready to join the internship that very day. We set up a meeting with Eric, where we discussed my background and how I might be of help. In discussing what I might work on during the internship, CLDI’s next mission of building a coffee shop with a job development program came up. I have had a lot of experience working in coffee shops and was very interested to help them build their own. After meeting with Eric another time, he offered me a position as an intern to help them plan their coffee shop and work in their property management company.

Joining CLDI was one of the easiest decisions I’ve made in a long time. I knew God was calling me here. It was clear that our time in Wyoming was finished. That first week at CLDI with those volunteers was the oasis that I had been desperately wanting for so long. My prayer for the internship is that I continue to lean into His word and be built up in His image. I am striving for Paul’s message in Colossians 2:6-7, which says: “Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.

I am excited to participate in this 11-month internship. I love academics, knowledge, and learning. I expect to be challenged and look forward to it. I expect to grow, not only in my knowledge of the Lord, but also in my experiences with planning a business, writing grants, and much more. My fear is failure, but I am resting in the sovereign plan of God and the understanding that even if my vision doesn’t come to pass, His perfect plan will. I am anticipating learning more about myself and what God has created me to do with my time on earth. I look forward to growing under the guidance of those who have walked with Him for  far longer, and I pray the relationships my wife and I build on the South Side will reflect His gospel and bring others to salvation in Him.

Still round the corner there may wait

A new road or a secret gate.”

-J.R.R. Tolkien

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