Why did you decide to be a missionary?
I always smile to myself when people ask me this because it wasn’t like I woke up bored one day and thought, “Hey, you know what would be fun? Mission work!” It is good that isn’t how this journey started because if it was, I would be sorely disappointed. This life definitely has it’s fun and amazing moments but it also has it’s challenging moments where the easiest thing to do would be to throw in the towel and head back home. Luckily, overall the work is rewarding and fulfilling enough to make all those hard times completely worth it. But I’m getting off subject and I honestly can’t promise it won’t happen again during this post. 🙂
I remember being five years old watching my dad and deciding that I would be just like him when I grew up because he had the coolest job in the world. Dad was a pastor and even at a young age I was able to grasp the idea that in a single two-hour slot on a Sunday morning, he influenced and helped hundreds of people. I wanted to do that. So I decided I was going to be a pastor when I grew up.
Around the age of ten I started to notice that there were not very many pastors who were women. I remember asking why but never got a very clear answer. I began to realize that this subject was a bit taboo. Not wanting to rock the boat, I decided to pick a different dream. That year in school I had the coolest teacher who taught me to push beyond what I thought I was capable of and discover that I could do anything I put my mind to. I wanted to challenge people the way that teacher challenged me. So I decided that I was going to be a teacher when I grew up.
When I entered I high school it became very clear to me that I hated school. It just wasn’t my cup of tea and the thought of having to go back to school every day after I graduated, made me physically cringe. So being a teacher was out and I spent a couple of years floundering, not knowing what I was going to do with my life. I knew that I still wanted to help people the way dad did but I wasn’t sure how to put that into practice. My junior year in high school several missionaries visited my church for the annual WOW week. I sat and listened to their stories and a little spark came to life in my heart. Throughout the rest of my high school career that spark grew and grew. Even when I was in bible college, that spark, which was a full on flame by then, was growing. But I never wanted to commit because deep down, the thought of being a real missionary terrified me. So I didn’t know what I was going to be when I grew up.
In the spring of 2002 I was feeling very lost. I’d gone through some hard stuff that left me not wanting anything to do with serving God or responding to His call on my life. And yet through a series of events put into motion by a great friend, that summer found me in Mexico, building houses with Amor Ministries as a summer intern. I was surrounded by poverty like I’d never known existed and every day I was helping people in a tangible way. I found God that summer and He confirmed my calling. So I decided that I was going to be a missionary when I grew up.
I worked with Amor Ministries until the end of 2005 and I’ve been in Thailand now since the beginning of 2006. There are times when I hate being called a missionary because it has a reputation that isn’t always good. But there is never a doubt in my mind that I am where I am supposed to be. God called me to love people and I will continue to do that every day of my life, no matter where in the world I end up.