I can't help but stop and gaze at the photos on Southern's SM page and wonder about each one of these new student missionaries that's preparing to go out. How will their year in service change them? What will their native country be like? Will they fall in love with missions just like I did?
I just want to hear their stories, see their faces, and most of all tell them "Don't close your eyes. Take lots of pictures. Write or journal daily and love until you can love no more and then be loved."
Today marks quite close to the two year anniversary since I left to Peru as a student missionary. I never could have imagined or captured quite the way my life and perspective would change after those eight months. Everybody says "life changing" and it sounds cliche but it's truer than true.
I reflect back to college students I meet and talk about being unsure with their careers or job choice, not knowing what to do with their life, or what the next step is. I ALWAYS tell them: Go serve somewhere around the world: it's the best thing you can do.
You see, when I went to Peru to live, I fell in love with a new way of life. A way of freedom from worrying about self and looks, a slower pace where you take the time to look at the stores and kiss each child's head, a culture where family is not taken for granted and is the core value. I fell in love with traveling, with orphan kids, with cooking homeade food on a little stove, with making relationships that were real, with feeling like I was making a difference, and most of all more in love with Jesus.
Peru changed me in many ways and it changed my goals in life. Before Peru, I aspired to be a physical therapist. In Peru, I realized that I felt God calling me to give my life to Him in global service as a missionary and as a nurse for His children. Wherever and however that may work, I'm preparing myself for service here in America or anywhere around the world.
I miss Peru and I miss global missions every day!
How bout you? Have you ever been on a mission trip or considered giving a year of your life to serve God's people? I just want to encourage you: it's one of the best decisions you will ever make =)