Kayla was born in California, and raised in Arizona. Kayla and her sister spent two of those years in Mongolia as missionary kids. Her family lived in Mongolia shortly after the the fall of Communism, when Mongolia was finding her way as an independent nation.
After graduating from Scottsdale Christian High School, she enrolled in Vanguard University in 2007. She graduated from Vanguard University with her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology, and a Minor in Religion. During her high school and college years, she participated in mission’s trips to Mexico, Dominican Republic, Ethiopia, as well as many U.S. cities.
She currently resides in Scottsdale, Arizona.
It was the beginning of 2009, I was a Sophomore at Vanguard University getting my B.A. in psychology and minor in Religion. I had planned out what my quiet, rural family life would look like not knowing that God was going to call me to do otherwise, and ignite my heart with a passion for His children.
What I thought was an ordinary Sunday night church service changed the course of my life. That night, God spoke to me and directly said, “I have called you to the ends of the earth… your place is not at home”. It was a night that I wouldn’t tell anyone about for another 2 years. I was too afraid of what the missional life would look like. A life full of unknowns, miles away from family and friends, and drastically different from the comfortable life I had been living and planning.
I knew that this calling was from God, and I knew that with my willingness and obedience it would one day come to pass.
That summer in 2009, I had the amazing opportunity to travel to Ethiopia for 4 weeks for a missions trip. There were many times while there, that I began picturing myself as a long term missionary serving God’s people. While God’s calling grew stronger in Ethiopia, my own idea of what was best for me took precedence. I remember explaining to God that I wouldn’t go alone… if he wanted me to go then He would need to bring a husband with the same calling. Then, we would go together. There was no way I was going to do this by myself.
On the way back to California from Ethiopia, we had a two-day stop in Frankfurt, Germany. Our hostel for the night just so happened to be behind the red light district. That night, having a hard time falling asleep, I sat in the windowsill… my mind and emotions taken over by a constant stream of shadows walking up and down a staircase… a staircase that lead to several rooms with red lights streaming from the windows.
Seeing first hand the injustices of the world, and the effects of sin, I knew I could no longer live a normal, comfortable life when God’s children are suffering around the world. That night, I made a promise to God, and girls around the world, that I would do something.
In the fall of 2009, I woke up from a dream. In that dream, I was visiting some girls that I had come to know that were trapped in sex slavery. They were living in a brothel… in a village built on stilts above water… using canoe-like boats as their only means of transportation. On this day, one of the girls looked at me and said… “I’m ready to go.” Without hesitation I said, “lets go”. With that, we began going door-to-door rescuing every girl forced into a life of slavery in that brothel. After chaos, confusion… and even a few gunshots… they made it outside safe and physically free for the first time in years.
I knew that this dream would one-day mean so much more, and I am amazed to look back and see God’s preparation in so many ways… years before it was time for me to “go”.
Time went on, as it always does. I graduated from Vanguard in 2011, and deep down inside I didn’t know what to do next. I knew that one day I would be a missionary… I just didn’t know when, or how. So, I did what most people do when they don’t know what to do. I continued going to school.
I started grad school that fall to get my masters in professional counseling. Classes were good. I was getting pushed out of my comfort zone, but God’s calling was still a constant fire burning in my heart.
It was November… a night at life group discussing the provision of God… and the idea that provision accompanies purpose. I knew my purpose… but had never told anyone. That night, I told my life group girls about the calling God placed on my life, and the struggle that I was having about knowing when, and what to do with it. I was in a waiting period.
Now in my third quarter of grad school in February 2012, I experienced a week where nothing in my life felt right. It’s hard to explain what I felt, other than just complete unhappiness. I sat in my human development class holding back tears from no where… for 3 hours. Unable to sleep at night, I would pray that that God would help me. I had no idea what was happening internally that was affecting my daily life.
That Friday, I attended a women’s conference, and heard Joyce Meyer speak. Among the many things she said that spoke to me that night, one thing I knew for sure was meant for me.
She said, “if you’re so unhappy, ask God why. He will show you the root of the problem. All you have to do is ask”.
I knew what I needed to do.
That night, lying in bed, unable to fall asleep, I asked God “why am I unhappy?” Without a seconds delay, God said, “you’re not listening to me.” So I asked, “What are you telling me?” and he responded, “I’m telling you to go”.
I knew instantly what He meant… I knew instantly that my life was about to change. All the chaos, confusion and unhappiness disappeared, and for the first time in weeks the peace of God swept over me, and I knew that the Lord ordered my steps.
I told my friends and family all that God had revealed… withdrew from grad school, and began to make plans to go. As months progressed, the fire that God had ignited 3 years before, burned without control for His children.
I have to go… even if it means going alone.
I cannot deny the call God has on my life.