31 Aug The Storm Clouds Parted
by Brookes August
In 2005, I sat atop a water tower surrounded by darkness like a blanket, staring at storm clouds forming over the Pacific Ocean that were fittingly symbolic of the state of my heart. I felt despondent, uncomfortable, and irritable toward God and others. I was a teenager growing up in Nicaragua. As if adolescence wasn’t difficult enough, God had moved my family away from the familiar suburb of Woodinville and into the foreign mission field where my language was unknown and significant friendships were rare and all the more necessary.
“I need to find purpose in this,” I said to myself. “God, use me. Use this experience, this struggle, for whatever you’d see fit and for your glory.” God would eventually answer that prayer while dealing with my stormy heart.
While on the mission field in Nicaragua, I concluded that working in youth ministry sounded like a fine idea because I figured it was filled with camping trips, dodgeball events, and pizza parties. To my teenage mind, anything involving pizza was a good idea. Pizza is still a good idea, but after spending over eight years working in youth ministry, I have grown to understand that it entails struggles, mundane moments, and hard work. After declaring a youth ministry major for about one week at Northwest University, I quickly changed my major to English in the hopes that I would gain some sort of skills if youth ministry ever stopped being fun and started being difficult. Thankfully, God showed me that significant things take substantial work, and seeing people’s lives change through Jesus Christ is the most excellent work.
The Bible says, “The hope of Jesus Christ and his work on the cross stood in contrast to my bouts of despair, and the reality of what Jesus accomplished began to outshine my hopelessness.
Though I grew up in church on the mission field, always knowing that Jesus’ love is constant and powerful, my faith remained marred by storm clouds of despondency and I did not apply the gospel to my life. While I was in college, however, God opened my eyes to the greatest truth that I’ve ever discovered: the supreme value and supremacy of scripture.
As a college student, I interned and worked with a para-church organization called Youth for Christ, and my overseer tasked me with memorizing a series of scriptures. These passages jump-started my spiritual batteries and opened my eyes to the worth of scripture and the authority that it holds for our world. I read the entire Bible in a matter of months, and after I was done memorizing the passages of scripture, I began to read other books by old dead guys who inspired me in my faith. Authors like Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Charles Spurgeon, and Martyn Lloyd-Jones became regulars in my reading and study. The hope of Jesus Christ and his work on the cross stood in contrast to my bouts of despair, and the reality of what Jesus accomplished began to outshine my hopelessness.
The Holy Spirit elevated scripture to the authority in my life, and my aim became to passionately encourage others to cling to it as well.
I was fascinated with two things when I graduated from Northwest University in 2010: the Bible and the church (the Seahawks, Mariners, and coffee were not far behind). The years following my graduation, I dedicated myself to youth ministry and I worked full time partnering with churches and youth pastors in the area, including a church in Kirkland called Northshore. It was while hanging around Andy Wright and helping him with events at Northshore that I noticed a girl named Amanda who served in the youth ministry. Whether she noticed me or not I don’t know, but God must have had something in mind because our paths continued to cross for years to come. Asking Amanda on a date was a great decision. Asking her to marry me in February of 2016 was an even better decision because she makes me a better leader, pastor, and man of God.
Amanda and I got married in July of 2016, and our greatest joy is serving and ministering to teens together. For the last three years we have served at Northview Community Church in Mill Creek, where we have joyfully shared with students not only the gospel but our very lives. In ministry, my greatest joys are passionately preaching from the Word of God so that others see the beauty of Jesus’ work on the cross and baptizing students who own their faith. The storm clouds of my life have been replaced by the sunshine of a new life and hope I never imagined.
Brookes August is Northshore’s new Pastor of Student Ministries.
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