From a very young age, I felt God’s presence in my life. In second grade, I joined my church’s children’s choir and I loved to sing! As we sang in a group and made beautiful sounds together, I often felt goosebumps. Not just in church, but in so many meaningful moments in my life, those goosebumps to me have felt like a sign of the Holy Spirit.
These “God moments” for me often come in church, but I have found that they can happen at any time, or anywhere.
Having my heart, ears, and eyes “tuned into” God from a young age wasn’t something I understood when I was young. But as I follow this call to serve God and my brothers and sisters in Christ, I am so grateful that God planted this seed early in me.
A Choice that Led Me Down a Path to Service
When I think about my journey in life and what has led me to where I am now as a recently endorsed Global Servant who will be serving in Nicaragua, I find myself saying, “Wow, thank you God for preparing me every step of the way. Especially because while it was happening, I did not know what you were shaping in me.”
I grew up only speaking English, but in middle school, I had to make a choice to either study French or Spanish. All my close friends at the time chose to take French. Logically, I would have also chosen French. But something pulled me towards Spanish. Right around that time before I had to choose, I remember reading several news articles about the increasing numbers of Spanish-speaking immigrants coming to live and work in the United States. I had this conviction in me that if I were going to learn a language, I wanted it to be one that would open opportunities to get to know people living in my own country. I wanted to learn from people whose cultures and home countries were different than my own, but who were living possibly right around the corner from me.
Having a basic grasp of Spanish was so powerful for me when I had the chance to go on my first international mission trip with my church’s youth group in the summer after I graduated high school. We traveled to Juárez, México (right across the border from El Paso, TX) and this trip was transformative for me. I think it was the first time I had come so close to extreme poverty. We spent a week in a local church and since water was so scarce for the people living there, we were asked to not take a shower for 5 days straight! But the kinds of interactions I had with the local kids who hung around us and the incredibly powerful spiritual experiences I had in worship and prayer with the people in Juárez, would not have been possible without that important choice of studying Spanish over French. God touched my heart and called to me in ways that I am still seeking to understand the full depth of. In that week, God shifted my path once again by putting a call on my heart to serve others and work alongside vulnerable communities to seek God’s justice and reconciliation.
A (Long-Term) Leap of Faith
Fast forward to the last few months before my college graduation – I had some big choices to make about what I would do next. Some professors I admired and looked to for advice suggested I consider further study, and many of my friends were going to do just that. But God had placed a clear desire in my heart that made me say, “Nope, more school right now is not for me.”
My faith had brought me – or maybe pushed me! – to need to be in difficult places and spaces with people working against injustice and trying to be a Light in a world where there is often too much Darkness. So, my choice was to find a Christian organization that would allow me to serve for 2 years or more and begin this life-long commitment.
And I found what I was looking for! I was accepted into a 3-year, young adult missionary program that sent me to serve in Nicaragua for 1.5 years and then in California with farm-worker organizations for 1.5 years. I had an incredible group of other young adults who shared the same call and passion I did for working towards justice motivated by our faith in Jesus. Even though we served in 8 different countries around the world and 8 separate locations in the US, we served in community, just as all of us as Christians are called to do.
“See, I am doing a new thing!”
There is something powerful about publicly saying, “Here I am Lord! Use me.” I truly feel that God is working in me in new ways at this point in my life through this call I have followed to serve as a Global Servant with International Ministries. I am going to be serving with AMOS Health & Hope, a ministry with a history tied to IM that goes back more than 50 years. The staff, community leaders, churches, and individuals that make up AMOS have an incredible commitment to working together with vulnerable and very remote communities to help thousands of families improve one of the most fundamental things that we all need – our health.
This “new thing” God has called me to does not come at an easy time for Nicaragua or the world. But the lessons and perspectives God has helped me gain throughout my life through Scripture and so many important pastors, teachers, mentors, friends, and co-workers, have planted seeds of resilience, hope, and faith that we can do the work that is needed to lead us a little closer to that vision of “On Earth as it is in Heaven.”
I am currently working to raise 100% of my Personalized Support Goal. I invite you to consider starting a sustaining, monthly gift to support my ministry with AMOS in Nicaragua. Thank you for prayerfully considering joining me in ministry!
(And a BIG thank you to all the people and churches who have helped me get halfway there already!)