April 24, 2018
My best answer is that I’ve always wanted to do mission work. I distinctly remember in kindergarten being asked by my teacher, Mrs. Cloud, what I wanted to be when I grew up, and as I was mulling over my options, (either a ballerina, teacher, or cat,) when I opened my mouth to speak, out came “missionary.” I knew that the Lord had put that in my mouth to say because that wasn’t in the above options I had in mind. Honestly, I wasn’t completely sold on that idea as I got older. It was always in the back of my mind though. I thought doing some type of mission work in another country would be really cool.
So real quick, I’m from Indiana, and moving down to South Carolina to teach was really eye opening for me. I never envisioned myself working in a school or having a routine job. I had this desire to pursue missions, and I didn’t know how that would fit into my life. That unknown made me uncomfortable. A lady that I worked closely with encouraged me that my work in the classroom was a ministry and a mission field in itself. I believed her to some point, but I had my doubts that I was working in a ministry.
Let me tell you - no amount of training or exposure can ever prepare you for your first year in the classroom. Up to that point, I thought I related fairly well to people. I quickly realized how much experience I actually lacked when it came to relationships with middle schoolers and knowing how to teach. More importantly, I realized that I didn’t know how to love people very well, and it wasn’t showing in my actions towards my kids. I was more focused on completing the task rather than loving the students in my room. I didn’t want to deal with the problems that they unintentionally brought into the classroom. I couldn’t respond well to their problems because I didn’t know how to love well. This really frustrated me because I did care about students, but I didn’t know how to show it. Thankfully, I got a second chance with a new group of students as the Holy Spirit kindly showed me my own flaws and helped me love my students.
Now, as I prepare for Burundi, something that I have realized is how little I have been a doer of God’s Word. I can’t articulate fully what I think being the church means or how it’s been played out in my life, but I know that I haven’t experienced it fully yet, and that bothers me. If I learn one thing while in Burundi, I hope that I become a doer of the Word. I hope that I become a doer before I go to Burundi too. I hope that I get on track to becoming proficient in just doing. It won’t happen overnight, and I don’t expect to learn everything at once, but I do expect to be changed. I think it will be really cool to see how God moves and reveals Himself to our team while we are working there. I’m excited to get to know God more in another culture and love the people in Burundi!