As the saying goes, When one door closes, another opens. Blake Sharp’s life is one that has been marked by this type of transition time and time again.
Having grown up outside of the Church, Blake never imagined he might someday be called to missions. Nonetheless, he did have a desire to serve, so he found himself enlisting in the Air Force after high school. Before long he began having seizures, effectively ending his military career and presenting him with the first closed door. Having lost his job and his ability to drive, he felt trapped coming home. “I really felt like a prisoner,” he shares. Led by his despair, he began drinking heavily and ultimately decided to end his life.
At the hospital, his family was encouraged to begin making end-of-life arrangements, but to everyone’s surprise Blake miraculously woke up. With renewed optimism, but still without real hope in Christ, he saw this second chance as an open door to improve his life, at least by the world’s standards. Blake enrolled at a local community college, hoping to become a veteran’s counselor, but he started partying, a lot. Looking for his next party scene, he made plans to move to Italy. But by the grace of God, that door was closed, and in an unexpected way.
“I got a DWI,” Blake shares, “and it was the best thing that’s ever happened to me.” This time around, when the door closed on his plans, the one that opened led to the greatest decision of his life. Back home again, a family friend invited him to church and by his second visit Blake accepted Christ. He began attending every Sunday, but the greatest shift happened for him on his first mission trip. “In Honduras God showed me why He saved my life years earlier in a hospital room,” he shares. “He told me that missions is what He created me for, and after that, a lot of healing took place in my heart.”
He returned from Honduras a new man with a new passion. Through the encouragement and support of his pastor, he completed an internship program at his church, went on several more mission trips, and continued studying at the community college. Yet he sensed there was more for him than an associate degree in social psychology. Having driven past TKU everyday on his way to work, he decided to stop in to learn more. “As soon as I walked inside, I knew this was where I was meant to be,” Blake recalls.
Now studying cross-cultural ministry at The King’s, Blake welcomes closed doors because he knows that God can use them to direct his path to the center of His will. Even recently, another closed door led Blake to one more life-changing experience. After a relationship unexpectedly ended, Blake felt led by the Spirit to go to Israel. He decided to study online for a semester and embark on a three-month-long visit to the Holy Land. Taking a course in Old Testament studies, he was able to experience first-hand the places he was reading about. “It was amazing,” he shares. “You’re literally walking where Jesus walked.” Not only did he discover a love and respect for the Jewish roots shared by all believers, but his relationship with the Lord grew deeper as well. “My love for Jesus went to a whole new level in Israel,” he shares.
Now back in the US, Blake is excited to be back on campus. As amazing as his time was in Israel, he missed the community. “TKU isn’t just a school; it’s a family,” he explains. “It’s equipping me with relationships for future ministry, with people that actually care and will speak into my life.” And he’s excited to see how God will weave together all the people, places, and closed doors for His divine purpose.