My expectations were far off from what I thought I would be doing when I signed up to be a missionary. I wanted the hard faith-trying, living with limited necessities, back breaking mission trip. Instead God gave me the opposite.
I have been completely enjoying my time here as a missionary. I mean yes, I am working hard, with a busy schedule teaching English, and I have my challenges, but it’s everything but “back-breaking.” At first, I was upset with God because I felt like I wasn’t being used enough. I have always heard of those missionary stories where they are living in the middle of the jungle, preaching on the streets of countries where you can get killed for being a missionary, having to walk miles to find clean water to drink, or bathing in cold rivers…and here I am living in a decent apartment inside the University, clean water and warm shower in the next room, with more than enough necessities.
Honestly, I didn’t want to come to Colombia. It wasn’t even a country that I picked in the beginning..however, God knew just where I needed to be. Since I’ve been here I have made some of the greatest friends I could ever ask for. I have been able to experience some of the most beautiful places in Colombia, preach in one of the poorest neighborhoods in Medellin, learn Spanish, and teach English to students who are eager to learn. Not only that but even being a blessing through the small things like: letting some students wash their clothes in my house, providing meals on weekends when the cafeteria isn’t serving, opening my home for families who don’t have anywhere to stay for a few days, and teaching one-on-one with people who struggle more with English.
These first six months I have been learning so much about myself and how selfish I can be. I learned that I am in no way perfect, and only with HIS help can I become anything close to perfect. I am learning that I really didn’t know what a missionary was before this. I realize that I don’t have to be stranded on some small island as a medical assistant, healing the sick and delivering babies. It isn’t always about these great things that you are doing. It’s about where GOD needs you and what He needs from you.
I have fallen in love with this country and the people in it. Through them God has taught me to humble myself, put others first, and to stay positive even if positivity is the last thing on your mind. They have taught me how to truly be kind, have fun, and the true meaning of friendship. If anything, I have been more blessed by them more than I could ever have been a blessing.
As I go into the second half of this mission year I will not focus on where I am and what I have NOT done, but what NEEDS to be done, and how I can SERVE my God. I will focus on what God wants of me and allow Him to work through me and shape me into who He wants me to be. So then I can be ready for when He does send me on a “back-breaking, living-in-the -jungle” type of mission trip.
“So Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” -John 20:21
“For so the Lord has commanded us. ‘I have placed you as a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the end of the Earth.’” -Acts 13:47
Daria Hibbler is a student missionary from Southern Adventist University serving as an ESL teacher at Colombia Adventist University in Colombia.