I'm 19 and I'm living in Pucallpa, Peru for 8 months. I'm working at a medical clinic, teaching swimming classes, doing evangelism, and working with children at a local orphanage. It's crazy awesome sometimes and other times a real struggle, but nevertheless God is at work and I am so glad that I decided to go as a student missionary.
I remember last year around this time, praying hard about whether or not I should go. In my heart, I wanted to serve so bad, but when I would talk to my parents or other friends about going, many of them advised me to wait another year saying that I was too young. Without full support from my family, I didn't want to go. I started praying to God that if it was His will for me to go as a missionary He would make it perfectly clear by doing three things: giving me my families support, giving me a friend on the same trip, and giving me a sign so that I could know without a doubt that He was calling me now.
I had Peru in my heart the whole time, and I wanted to go so bad. The only thing that was surprising about my location I was applying for was that it was a medical clinic. Ever since I have been young, I have hated/ had serious fears about the medical field. So what was I doing applying to a clinical missionary site? I wanted to go somewhere where God would have to work in me and give me His strength where I was weak.
I prayed and prayed through February, and March when I went on a short term mission trip with the Gym Masters to the Dominican Republic. When I returned, I did the Daniel Fast with the intent of discovering God's will and if He wanted me to go. I asked my parents every month starting in September if I could go, and for the first time, when I came back in March from the Dominican, I had their approval. On the Gym Master mission trip, I also met a girl named Becca, who just like me had applied to AMOR Projects. Thus God was answering my prayers! One night in March, I was star gazing with my best friend and prayed to God that if it was His will for me to go, He would give me a shooting star. That night I got not one, but three shooting stars. That's when I knew I was going.
Going as as student missionary has been an experience I will never forget. God has been teaching me so much! I've become more outspoken, more of a leader, overcame many of my medical fears, and most importantly learned how to truly trust God in a different way. My eyes have been opened to how much of the world lives. God has been at work in the breaking and remaking of my heart.
Yes there's been struggles- real struggles- that are hard to understand until you just go. But God has proven faithful time and time again, and has never let me down. I have been through worms, a serious allergic reaction that seemed like leprosy, lice, dreads and mold, bucket showers, frogs, and homesickness that never seems to go away- yet through it all God is here.
Because I chose to follow God across the world, wherever He would lead me, into a clinic where I HATED doctors, shots, and the medical field... God has blessed me so much more than I could ever begin to describe. He helped me teach more than a 100 kids how to swim, helped me overcome my fear of the medical field and learn to give shots, meds, and blood sugar tests, helped me raise over $2500 for orphan kids so we could give them all Christmas presents, and helped me travel to Buenos Aires, Lima, and Machu Picchu with some of the best friends and the best sm family in the world.
You say your thinking about going as a student missionary? Why don't you start praying about going as a student missionary? If you have been given the idea, the hope, or the dream of going as an sm, it is probably a God thing! Don't just ignore the feeling to go or make excuses. God does not call the qualified but qualifies the called by His power and grace.
College is the easiest time to take a year and travel the world sharing the love of God. If you're worried about taking time off from school, realize that you can always get a degree or take classes later. If you don't think you can raise the money, why don't you pray and test God? I challenge you to pray, to pray hard, about whether or not God is calling you to go as a student missionary and to listen and obey whatever God is saying. I challenge you to go serve.
Go ye therefore into all the world, and preach the Gospel to all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded. And I will be with you always, even until the end of the world.