Monday, July 16, 2018

A Letter to NewSpring Church

I posted this on my private blog a few years ago. I feel like this needs to be public now though. I was saved during a service at NewSpring Church so I will always appreciate and hold dear the memories I made there, but that church is not the same without Perry Noble. I initially did not share this publicly in order to protect the church, but I feel like I'm doing a disservice to them by not sharing my experience. I hope this helps the leaders change some things at NewSpring. (ahem...cease on the cliques)

This was initially written to Perry Noble so I'm just going to leave it as it is but essentially it should be to NewSpring Church.

Dear Perry (or whomever actually reads these things):

I don't actually think you will ever see this, as I know you receive hundreds of emails a day, but maybe someone who can make an impact, will see it.

My name is Brittan and I am the girl who flew to Kenya with NewSpring back in June of 2013 and came home immediately after getting there. I'm assuming you heard about this as I'm sure I'm probably the only person in America to ever do such a thing. Getting through Customs certainly wasn't easy. Ha!

I want to tell you that leaving and not following through on my commitment to God's plan for me is the biggest regret of my life.

There has not been one day since I came back that I didn't think about what would have been, had I stayed.

I'm hoping that since you too struggle with anxiety that you will understand what I went through. I had one of the worst panic attacks I have ever had, once we got to the hotel in Kenya. I could not use the phone and that was all I wanted to do. It had been 30 hours or so since I talked to my then 4 year old daughter, but it felt like days. I hadn't slept in those 30 hours and I know that had I just gone to sleep and waited to make such a big decision, I wouldn't have left early. But that is not something I can change. And in the midst of a panic attack I wasn't exactly thinking logically. It was a full blown attack - I couldn't breathe, I couldn't focus, I couldn't stop shaking and I was feeling 100% trapped.

My point of this post is to tell you that I love NewSpring. (I was saved at NewSpring in October of 2009 and since then I have seen numerous family and friends be saved.) I truly do. But I think there is room for improvement. Important improvement.

I signed up to go on a trip across the world with a group of people whom I'd never met. We had two meetings before the trip, but those were informational meetings without any encouragement to get to know one another. There were no emails from the leader, as I've heard there have been on other trips. There was no preparation really. The day of the trip, there were no introductions. The trip I went on had a lot of staff and so there were basically cliques - staff, people who had been to Kenya before, and newbies. Staff didn't associate with anyone else. It was very uncomfortable.

So, when we got to Africa, to say I felt alone was an understatement. I did have my cousin with me and thank goodness for her. We did not pray along the way, as a team. We were not given information that some of the staff had (i.e.: safari cards so that panic-ridden people like me could have a phone connection anywhere in Kenya). It was just overall, not a very welcoming environment. I know I wasn't the only person who felt this way either.

When I was having my panic attack, the leader and another staff member were understanding and helpful. I will say that. But once I got home - no one checked on me, no one reached out to see how I was emotionally or spiritually - or if I was okay with my decision. I didn't hear from anyone. To me, this was very disappointing. I realize that 410 Bridge had to jump through some hoops for me and I sincerely appreciate it. But for me to call NewSpring my home and not have anyone show they truly cared about me hurts a little. Actually, it hurts a lot.

The truth is, I want to go back to Kenya some day. I am too embarrassed to probably ever follow through with it, but it was laid on my heart by God and that desire has not gone away. I can't help but think that if the experience leading up to the trip included more spiritual readiness and team work that my trip would have lasted longer than 48 hours of plane rides.

I hope that this information is helpful in preparing for future mission trips and I also hope that you understand that the crazy girl who left Kenya, wasn't actually crazy - just severely anxious and sleep deprived.

My heart is still in Kenya and I thank you for all that NewSpring has done there.

Brittan Morris  (at the time)
Columbia Campus


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