Friday, May 30, 2014

10 reasons you should go as an SM

By: Kaitlyn Seheult & Brooke Bernhardt
    Kaitlyn had never dreamed of being an SM. It was something God called her to do during her sophomore year at Southern Adventist University. Leaving the place she called home and loved so much, was not her idea of fun. Yet when God called her, Kaitlyn said yes. She prayed about where she should go, and went to Peru. 8 months away from her family, boyfriend, sisters, and friends, in a country of poverty and dirt Kaitlyn was astounded at the God who comforted her when she was struggling and healed her sicknesses. Following God’s leading and choosing to go to Peru was just the first step, in a journey that forever changed the way she would view herself and the world around her.

    Brooke had always dreamed of being an SM.  She wanted to be a missionary so badly, but she didn’t know if it was God’s will. Her friends and family initially discouraged her not to go and to wait until she was older. She wanted to go to an orphanage but of all places God asked her to go to a medical clinic. When she finally traveled 3,000 miles away from home, overcame her fears in a missionary medical jungle clinic, and loved the children and orphans of Peru, God blessed her and changed her life so much. Living in Peru, has been a rollercoaster of joys and tears for Brooke, but through God’s leading in her life she has been completely humbled and decided to be a nurse- something she NEVER imagined doing.

    To be completely honest, we don’t always feel like student missionaries, but we have learned that being a missionary is an action, not a feeling. Through the many spiritual, physical, and cultural challenges we have become bonded in Christ, and have become closer than sisters. Living eight months in Peru has changed our life in so many more ways than we could ever explain. Though it is definitely not easy, it is so worth it. Here are our top ten reasons why we think you should pray about becoming a missionary.
    1. Spiritual Reality Check. Do you think that being a missionary means that you have a great relationship with Christ? That you always feel his presence working in your life? Instead of your spiritual walk getting easier, your faith is constantly confronted in a spiritual battlefield of trusting in God in the hardest of times. Without the distractions of home, you are faced with destitution and the spiritual reality check of where you lie in your relationship with Christ.

  • 2. A New Perspective. Have you ever heard the phrase, “Give me your eyes and I’ll show you the world.”? Christ asks that we give him our eyes, and he will open them to the beauty, and reality of the world around us. By stepping out of your comfort zone, and into a new culture you can not only gain perspective about the world around you, but gain perspective of the life you lead as a follower of Christ. Being immersed in another culture teaches us the value of respecting others, being open minded, and learning to adapt in the face of trial. You can see the world for what it truly is, and humbly serve those in need, and it is so rewarding.

  • 3. Shows you what you want in life. As you live as a student missionary the little things suddenly don’t seem to matter so much. Many of life's priorities change drastically and you start to question what truly is important. By serving others, you often discover where your passions lie, and in what kind of career you would like to invest your time and money.

  • 4. Blessing others blesses you. You travel across the world as a family and friend deemed superhero missionary and then realize that the people help you more than you can help them. By experiencing painful lessons in humility, you start to feel the love of serving Christ and the freedom of living out your Christ-given identity.

  • 5. You start needing God in a real way. Being an SM strips you to the core of who really are and shows you your incompleteness without God. It becomes much more difficult to “fake it til you make it” or to live a life of spiritual complacency when you are pressed with constant emotional, physical, and spiritual temptations. You are forced to jump off the middle fence and pick a side whom you will serve during your time abroad.

  • 6. Realize how selfish you are. When you travel across the world to be a student missionary, you often feel that you are sacrificing a lot. You feel that by leaving your family and friends you are doing a great duty and some notable action for Christ. Then you arrive in a different country, and realize that serving as a student missionary isn't even about you. Yes it starts with your decision to say yes. But service is about the people you are serving and most of all God's calling for your life. It's difficult to serve when you are concerned about yourself: the food you are eating, how you look, or how many friends you have. You are constantly confronted with a battlefield of your natural self and it's selfish ways and God's calling for you to be completely humble and put others first. Often we look back to the way we used to live in college when all we thought about was our careers and what we wanted, and say in shock “I never want to go back to that selfishness”. Putting others first is so rewarding and you realize how freeing it is to not think about yourself all the time.

  • Learn to work with and appreciate other people who are different than you. In America, it's convenient to become friends with people who are just like us. Friends who play the same sports as us, attend the same classes as us, or maybe share the same cultural or religious values are easy to find. When you go to be a student missionary, you meet so many people that are completely different than you. Their are people of different races, different beliefs, different hobbies, different world perspectives, and different social classes. At first when you go to serve, you may be tempted to shrink back and hide from the differences wondering where “your people” or “your friends” are that are just like you. When you finally embrace the differences of the people of the country you are serving in, you will realize how beautiful God created the world and the amazing gift of acceptance. Everyone wants to be accepted in life and when you learn to accept others you will be gifted with the most amazing spiritual family and closest friends than you could have ever imagined.
  • 9. Challenging yourself to achieve the most you can from life. As a missionary, you will be asked to do things that are far beyond your comfort zone. Whether that be teaching a class without lesson plans, singing a solo even though you believe you can't sing, or preaching a sermon within two days notice. In the mission field, you are no longer a child or a student; you are a teacher, a medical professional, and an evangelist. You have responsibilities and expectations that will push you to achievements and accomplishments you may have never even imagined.

  • 10. The greatest adventure of your life. While every day of mission work isn't spent rescuing orphans, riding elephants, and machete chopping poisonous snakes, mission work will give you the opportunities to experience new things. During eight months of work in a foreign country, you will have the opportunity to make some of the best friends you could ever imagine, try some crazy foods, and travel to places around the world. Most importantly, your relationship to Christ will be pushed and challenged so that you may grow closer to God than ever before.

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