Adventure never ends
Rochelle wants to live life to the full
Hiking, kayaking and surfing along with mission trips to Myanmar, Thailand and India and a year spent working in Fiji are among the many adventures Rochelle Booth has enjoyed in her lifetime but it is all part of a bigger picture she has for her life.
"Being a Christian to me doesn't mean missing out on the truly fun experiences in life," Rochelle explains about the real reason she lives life to the full.
"In fact, on the journey God has led me on, I've been on some incredible adventures that I never could have imagined."
Rochelle was a quiet, shy little girl growing up in a Christian family but what her parents instilled in her as a child was something that brought greater meaning and boldness as she reached adulthood.
She understood at a young age that Jesus had died for her so she could live life to the fullest, free from the consequences of sin, but says it was more out of fear for the consequences that stopped her getting up to mischief.
"While I didn't get into any trouble when I was younger I did have a hidden terrible attitude," she admits.
"When I look back over diary entries in my teen years I am horrified by my negative attitude, the terrible language I used and disgusting remarks I made about people. I think back then I was just 'going through the motions' – attending church because it was habit and youth group because it was fun and I had lots of friends there."
Yet things began to change one night at a youth group camp at the age of 18.
"We were all in a big hall, having a worship service and the most amazing feeling of the presence of God's Holy Spirit swept over everyone there," she recalls.
"I remember kneeling on the floor singing and crying out to God."
In that moment she realised that even though she was a Christian, God was calling her to turn away from her bad attitude towards Him and instead trust in His perfect goodness.
"That experience completely changed my life, not in a drastic and hugely obvious way to others but from that night on, I was a committed follower of Christ and I haven't looked back."
This change started with an attitude adjustment as Rochelle started to develop a love for people and a desire to help those in need, just as Jesus did, instead of following her own selfish priorities as a teenager.
"When I look back over my journey since that night, there are three key themes I have noticed in my walk with God through the years: an understanding that God cares and His peace is a feeling like no other, God always provides and God is always there for me," she shares.
"There have been times when I've needed money or work and it's always come through. From the time when I was on a very low trainee wage and I needed thousands of dollars to be involved in a mission ministry and one day the money just appeared in my bank account! God blessed me so much, that I was even able to help others pay for their fees.
"Another time I was looking for work for a very specific period during my university holidays. An opportunity came up and it turned out to be for the exact period of time I was available. Coincidence? I don't believe so."
Rochelle adds that human nature means even close family and friends will sometimes let you down but God is constant and always has our best interest in mind.
"I take comfort in the fact that God is always there. Being a Christian also doesn't mean that life is easy. But what a comfort it is to know that whatever challenges come my way, my God is walking alongside me, and I will be okay. Being a Christian doesn't mean following a strict, legalistic set of rules. For me, being a Christian is about working out from the Lord how He wants me to live.
"It's about striving to become more like Jesus. It's communicating with Him daily; praying for guidance, for others and about the things that trouble me. It's committing to a local church and serving in that church to help more people come to know Him. It's following the passions that God has given me and fighting for a just and compassionate society where all people, regardless of race, status, gender or religion are treated with respect and dignity.
"I can't imagine doing life without God. I shudder to think of where I'd be. I praise and thank my God for His goodness, kindness, compassion and everlasting love."