Many young men and women have participated in the Kairos Stand in the Gap program over the years. Some of them discern the Lord’s call to go on doing mission for another year (or even more). Michael Koval is one such young man. He spent last year in London, serving mainly with the college outreach and evangelism there.
Mike came back to the States this past summer and we were able to catch up with him to report on his year. Mike is a certified welder, so he was using the summer to raise funds for another year on mission.
Why did you decide to take a year “Stand in the Gap” in London?
“I simply felt the Lord putting this call on my heart over time, it wasn’t a ‘snap—of—the—fingers’ decision. I was working in what I thought at the time was going to be my career, but I found myself desiring to serve the Lord more fully. As time went on, several words from the Lord, along with conversations with trusted friends and loved ones lead me to a) believe this truly was a call from God, and b) know I could trust in his plan despite my fear of leaving my roots in Michigan. The latter was one of my greatest motivations and greatest obstacles; I knew I needed to grow In my faith and I also knew that leaving my bonds of comfort was the only way to do it.”
What were a couple of highlights?
“There were many highlights, so many in fact I usually tell people the entire year was simply the best year of my life! I was able to watch the Lord tangibly work in my life; in ways I never expected or knew was possible. There were, of course, some very ‘highlighted’ highlights, the first being my experience with an outreach ministry. We went to an event called Witch Fest, which is the largest gathering of witches and warlocks in the world, numbering in the thousands.
“The day I spent with a handful of fellow Christians ministering to these people was hands down the most powerful experience I have ever had in my entire life. It is going take one heck of another Saturday to beat it! I witnessed miraculous conversions, and I came away with a completely renewed sense of God’s unconditional love for every person, even those that devote their lives in the pursuit of the evil one. God still loves them and wants them to know it. To witness a lifelong Wicken break down, admit she never knew Jesus loved her, and then immediately give her life to Christ, was, to say the least, groundbreaking in my faith.
“Another highlight I want to mention was living with a household of the Servants of the Word, a group of celibate, missionary men. The consistency in prayer and the overall structure living there gave my life was pivotal to the growth in my relationship with God that I needed.”
Can you share some thing or two that were challenges for you?
“In all of this, the hardest challenge was leaving, not my job or even my country, but my friends and family on whom I rely on so much. However, in hindsight, I can say with full certainty it was the best thing I could have ever done for myself, or rather the best thing God has worked in me. It was necessary for me to leave everything in order to find solace in a new reliance on God and a new trust in his power.”
You are going back to London for another year on mission. Why?
“I felt many times over my first mission/Gap year that God was calling me to give more of my life to him for the sake of mission. After a lengthy discernment process, I truly felt blessed to have found a place where I can help and serve in building the kingdom of God. Through that time of discernment, God wholly changed my heart. I thought the idea of serving for two years was out of the question, but after seeking the Lord in prayer more deeply, and asking for a heart like clay that He can mold to His likeness, God did just that. I haven’t a single regret or doubt that I am where God wants me to be for this time of my life.”
Knowing young men like Mike is an amazing privilege. What a servant of Christ he has become! Thank you for participating in the mission of reaching young people for Jesus; your prayers and financial support go a very long ways in helping us help them. May the Lord bless and keep you and your loved ones.
Yours in Christ,