I’m going to New Zealand!

I would never in my wildest dreams imagine I would be heading to New Zealand for 6-months as I near my sixty-second birthday.

After a life-altering journey with cancer in 2011, I realized my body and soul had been neglected as the demands of being a single mom running and growing a plant business increased. I shared my cancer journey thru my CaringBridge blog, and the response I received from hundreds of people was overwhelming. As I shared my faith journey with others during this challenging time, I found it increased my hope in God to show up in a big way, and He did!

During this season, the Lord began to shift the vision for my future. I had plenty of experience nurturing physical gardens, but this life event turned my focus toward nurturing my inward soul garden. I wanted to share what I learned from this life-changing experience to offer hope to others facing challenging life events.

I sold half of my company in 2013 and began exploring other ways I could impact the world heading into my sixties. I became a Master Gardener and then invested in a Mastermind Group in 2016, an intimate journey with six other women who were exploring their callings. This year-long commitment disciplined me to review all the Lord had done over my lifetime. My testimony entitled “How to Dig in and Grow when Life gets Dirty” was birthed. The day I shared my story publicly on stage and saw the words I had been given by God bring hope into my audience’s eyes was a game-changer for me. My passion is to share my story and sow hope in the soul gardens of the hurting soon outgrew the love I felt for my safe, comfortable, established life I had grown over the last 40 years.

In 2019 I decided that it was time to release my established life in Orange County and begin to simplify my way of living so I could go wherever the Lord wanted to send me. By the end of December 2020, I had moved out of our home, sold the other half of my plant business of 40 years, and spent hours downsizing my life. All three main branches on my life tree had been trimmed to stubs. I was not retiring; I was releasing my previous life to make room for a new one.

In my twenties, my friends Pam and Rich Boyer introduced me to Youth With A Mission (YWAM), and I encountered many missionaries they have hosted over the years. You can read about their ministry at www.ywam.org.

While staying in their home during the pandemic, they shared that YWAM now has a Discipleship Training School (DTS) called Crossroads for people 31 years and older who desire to grow in their relationship with the Lord and explore missionary work.

I had gifted myself a sabbatical to reset my life and take time to rest and honor my previous life. I packed up my 2004 Toyota Tundra and headed to Oregon in December 2020. Over the next sixteen months, my travels took me to nine states to visit with family and friends. I have spent hours walking in gardens and forests across the country, where I have pondered, processed, and prayed for the Lord to reveal his plans for my next chapter.

The seed planted by Pam and Rich began to sprout when I came home to Orange County last summer. I explored YWAM’s website, and when I found the Crossroads Discipleship Training School (DTS) in New Zealand, I felt strongly that this was my next step. Traveling across the country is one thing but across the world? That decision would require a level of faith I have not yet journeyed to… but I was willing.

My application was approved, but COVID restrictions kept changing the start date from February 2022 to potentially 2023. I admit that this emotionally took the winds out of my sails, but the staff encouraged me to move forward as planned. I am learning much about waiting… patiently.

At the end of May, YWAM sent a thumbs-up email with updated info regarding visas into the country. I applied the next day and received approval for my VISA by the afternoon! As a result, I am moving forward with plans to leave the third week of July to begin the first phase – DTS.

I am in awe at how many details have come together so quickly over the last month. The Lord has directed my steps, and I am excited and scared, but I have witnessed God supplying my needs in ways I never dreamed possible. Like many mission trips, I am raising support funds. On the back, I have shared how you can follow me on my exciting adventure and, if desired, how you can support me financially. More than anything, please keep me in your prayers as I go on a Lord-led journey of a lifetime.

June 26, 2022

Written by Deb Ringler

My love affair with the plants began as a young child exploring the outdoors in my own backyard. This passion grew into a lifelong career in horticulture.

Over the years, I found the methods I used as a gardener to help my plants thrive could also be metaphors for growth in our inner gardens.

I am always seeking ways to combine my horticulture knowledge and personal life experiences to connect others to the wonders of the natural world and the lessons it can teach us.

I created four different blog paths for you to chose from to follow my journey as I live in New Zealand for the next six months. It is bound to be exciting and I thrilled to have you join me on the adventure of my lifetime.


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