In 2019, I went to Kolkata, India. It was amazing. And terrible. And life changing. And heart breaking. And heart filling. Every emotion you can feel, I felt. I didn’t know that you could physically feel evil in the air, but that’s what the air feels like in Sonagachi, India’s largest red light district. But it was there amidst all the evil that I felt closest to God.
The past two years of my life had been filled with ups and downs. I had an incredible job that gave me the opportunity to travel a lot, but I kept feeling this giant tug at my heart that my priorities were all wrong, so I took my thoughts to my husband. To my surprise, he said, “So quit!” So I did. I spent the next year and a half searching for what was next. In May 2018, my best friend invited me to serve with her in India.
On the second day there, I was in charge of taking medical histories for local women. There was another girl from Cincinnati who started talking about BLOC Ministries. I was barely paying attention as I was organizing papers when all of a sudden I heard a man’s voice say, “Listen to her, you’re going to be doing that one day.” I stopped and thought, “What the heck? I am severely jet lagged and having auditory hallucinations!” But I listened. I remember thinking, “That sounds interesting. I didn’t know there was something like that so close to home.” Then I went about my day.
Later, that same girl came to me and wanted to talk about BLOC. It sounded like an awesome opportunity. The rest of our trip we joked that when we got back home, she was going to hire me.
When we got back I came to check out Weightless Anchor. She thought that was where I would fit in best because I have a huge heart for serving women and I care a great deal about people entangled in the horrendous world of sex trafficking. I visited Weightless Anchor and felt drawn in and loved every minute. (Have you ever simultaneously had your heart broken and filled up? That’s what it felt like.) Later I found out the director of Weightless Anchor was looking for the right person to take over the ministry. As a matter of fact, while I was in India, she and the house manager were fasting and praying the right person would be brought to the ministry.
My husband, Adam, and I went to have dinner with my friend and her husband to learn about BLOC Ministries and the mission, vision, and living and serving in Price Hill. We talked about what it would look like for us to move our family from suburbia to the inner city and for me to be the new director of Weightless Anchor. I was shocked. And a little terrified. And completely unsure of where God was leading me. Adam said I was made for it and had to take it.
Our friends said to pray about it. So I did. That Tuesday, I hit my knees. I prayed like a tantrum-throwing toddler: “Are you serious? I left my big job and you want me to leave my nice, comfortable, safe house in the suburbs and move where people get shot? Haven’t you seen the news? Price Hill is always on it, and not for all the fields of daisies. You can’t possibly have this for me. Okay, fine, if you really are the big bad God of all things and you can do anything, I’m going to need something big from you to prove it. If you really want me to uproot my life and move to Price Hill, I need you to… umm, I need you to give me a block of wood! Yeah, that’s it, a block of wood!”
I prayed for the next few days asking for wisdom and discernment. On Saturday, Adam and I went to Crossroads. They were doing a series on legacy and talking about the big plot of land where they hold camps for couples, women, men, and other groups. Toward the end of service, Brian Tome held up a small block of wood cut from the trees on the property. They were giving one to everyone. What? You are giving away thousands of blocks of wood? Okay, God, I see you. I sat in my chair and wept.
The next day, I called and took the job.
On April 1, 2019, I started working full time for BLOC Ministries. That May, we put our house in the suburbs up for sale and it sold in 10 hours. We moved to Price Hill, just outside of downtown Cincinnati, to be a part of a ministry that believes that the only way to change a city is from the inside out.
I may be stubborn, but I am stubborn and obedient. -Andrea H.