The In Between

I have always loved the idea of traveling, and  I spent about a year convinced being a commercial pilot was God’s plan for me. 

words + photographs RAGYN WIRTZ

I was halfway through my senior year in high school, desperate to start planning the next step in life. I was terrified and stressed out; everyone had their plan for after high school, but I was just starting to figure mine out. I like to be in control of things and plan for them ahead of time. I began to lean into God (something I should have done from the start), and He told me to wait. Very begrudgingly, I did just that.

As I waited, I looked into many options and sought counsel. I thought God wanted me to go to Ukraine for at least a semester. I have gone twice and stayed at an orphanage. However, the reason I wanted to go was partially selfish. I really just wanted a break and to have some time to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. God had different plans. 

A Ukrainian orphan and Ragyn ride on a ski lift.

Because of the war, the door to Ukraine was pretty obviously closed. I was devastated: The people I love in Ukraine were hurting and scared, and God shut down yet another good opportunity. I continued to pray and seek God, leaning on Him as I went through the pain of watching what was happening to a country I loved. While I was caught off guard by it all, God knew exactly what He was doing. 

I applied to a semester program in Thailand with the International Mission Board. I was so excited as I have always wanted to travel to Asia. As I waited, I thought I found where God wanted me to go. 

I received a call from the IMB, but instead of Thailand, the representative told me about a year-long program in the Pacific Rim, where I would be trained in the Philippines for three months before going to two other countries for a month each and then a fourth country for five months.  Instead of thinking about it, I trusted God and decided to go. The IMB call was on April 26, and I leave Aug. 24. Four months later. 

God has shown me the desire to travel was given to me by Him. He didn’t give it so I could say I lived my life to the fullest. He gave me this longing so I could reach those who have never heard the Gospel. Because it is important to God, it is important to me. He saved me. I was lost, alone, and searching for things to fill me. Nothing satisfied me. God reached out to me and saved me. Now I want to share what He did in my life with other people, so they can find refuge in the only one who can give them absolute, unconditional peace, rest, satisfaction and love. Everything I have been given is from Him, and I want people to know how good and faithful He is to forgive when we will never be good enough for His salvation.

The time in between when God said go and actually going is a challenge. It is a balancing act of preparing and being present in what God is doing right here and now.

The time in between when God said go and actually going is a challenge. It is a balancing act of preparing and being present in what God is doing right here and now. This in between time feels like I decided to jump, now I am falling, but I can only brace for impact. I never thought of the in between; I only considered where to jump and what to do once I got there. In this time of preparation, God is teaching me a lot. One, He has taught me to rely on Him and be content.

I know these two things are textbook answers, and they go hand-in-hand, but they are so true. Neither one was fast nor easy to learn. They have both been learnt over most of my life. Ever since I was little, I have always looked forward to what came next, whether that meant being able to walk from one class to another, drive or go out on my own. The items on this list share one thing in common: independence. Independence has always been my greatest strength, as well as my greatest weakness. Either way, it makes it hard to depend on God.

Now He has told me to go, and it has forced me to rely on Him more than I have. I know God has been, and always will be, there for me to rely on, but it is hard when my independence makes me want to do things on my own. 

TOP In 2021, Ragyn went with teammates to Ukraine to serve in orphanages. The Ukrainian girl in the gray, zippered hoodie was adopted this past summer. RIGHT Ragyn chose to pose in traditional Ukrainian clothing for one of her senior pictures.

During this time, God has taught me to rely on Him for impossible-without-Him outcomes. One of the necessities that has been the hardest for me through this time is fundraising. It costs $10,000 for the full year with the IMB. I want to make the money on my own, but it is difficult. Although, I had some money in savings, the amount was nowhere near what I needed to raise. Plus, time was ticking down quickly before I had to pay up. 

But God.

The Lord has provided me with a better paying job, as well as people who have either offered jobs to me or donated. He has provided in too many ways to count. Though I still have a ways to go with fundraising, I am trusting God to provide in ways only He can. RW

Ragyn Wirtz is willing to go, so God is sending her. After graduating from high school in May 2022, Ragyn is preparing to spend the next year in the Pacific Rim as a missionary with the International Mission Board. Subscribe to her blog to follow her missions work in the Pacific Rim. Help support Ragyn and the mission by praying, buying a shirt (by Aug. 8), or donating

COVER Ragyn Wirtz spending time with orphans in Ukraine.


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