Since I’ve been here, it seems to be the trend that I’m at my weakest on Sabbaths–emotionally, physically, mentally. Not sure why. Maybe it’s the end-of-the-week tiredness mixed with feelings of missing home. Or maybe just plain sleepiness from how early church begins. Well this Sabbath was no exception.
We had just concluded Sabbath School, and I found myself on the verge of tears just at the sound of a familiar hymn from childhood. Something about hearing those age-old hymns that I grew up singing with my grandma in Spanish and now sung beautifully in Miskito always seems to get me teary-eyed. This is when Armando rushed over to me asking if I could give the sermon for that day.
You should know a little bit about Armando before I continue. Let’s just say he’s a pretty rare find here in Francia. He speaks Miskito, Spanish, and English, which makes him the complete embodiment of comfort and security to all the “white folk” that come to serve here. Yep, Armando is awesome. And I’ve appreciated his help so much during my time here, but this particular day I just wasn’t feeling his awesomeness.
Everything in me wanted to respond with a “Are you serious?! Of course not.” And even more so, everything in me wanted to redirect my response to God with a “Really, God? Right now? No.” But when you sign up to be a student missionary, you’re saying “Yes” to God. In the good, the bad, and the unexpected…the unexpected.
I can only imagine the look I was giving Armando, but with a big, fake smile on my face, I agreed to give the sermon.
Having little time to prepare, I decided to simply tell the story of how I ended up in Francia Sirpi. Using Galatians 2:20 as my key text, I began to share with the congregation my journey of being called to the mission field. How I had dreams of quickly finishing nursing school, getting married, and happily living next to a Gold’s Gym and Whole Foods. How the mountain-high school loans I will have accumulated after finishing medical school were enough for me to question God. And how deep down I feel completely incompetent both academically and mentally to be a doctor. With tears in my eyes, I read one of my favorite verses, Romans 8:37, which declares that “we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us,” reminding myself more than anyone that although being “crucified with Christ” may come with hardships, God has already declared us victorious. I may not have spoken the most eloquently or even reached the most people, but in that moment I saw God’s power. His unfailing power made perfect in my own weakness.
*Hannah Garza is a student missionary from La Sierra University, serving as a CNA/Nurse in Nicaragua, through the Office of Volunteer Ministries and Adventist Volunteer Service. This was originally posted on her blog, and is used with permission.