The end of our first week in Slovakia has arrived and we’re all in the midst, one way or another, of considering the implications of what’s happened so far. Speaking for myself, I can say that I’ve enjoyed the time immensely but there have certainly been challenges. I think one thing is universal—kids are kids, wherever you go! Most of our students want to be here so they can learn conversational English better. But there are some here who have obviously been sent by parents or grandparents. It doesn’t matter to them that we’ve flown over 5000 miles and spent a lot of money to ‘serve’ them—they don’t want to be here. And of course, that attitude leaks over to the rest and makes working with the entire group more complicated.
When things are like this, I remind myself I didn’t come here for my needs to be met. I am here because God has called me to give of myself to His work. It’s up to Him how He chooses to use that offering. My job is to be faithful.
I’ve also learned I have something major in common with a 2015 team member I’d never met before we arrived in Slovakia this year. We both went to Christian college a long time ago and both of us had a definite nudge toward missions during that time. Neither of us ever felt directly ‘called’ to a particular field, though, then ‘life’ happened, and we went on our way, wondering what that nudge had meant all those years ago. For myself, I’ve always had a sense of guilt—that I’d somehow missed the boat all those years ago, that I’d failed to hear God’s voice aright. Cheri shared during team devotions that she realizes now that THIS trip to Slovakia in 2015 is at least a part of what God was preparing her for back in her college days. As I listened, I realized that I, too, had heard God correctly. I DID have a ‘call’ to missions: It just didn’t look the way I thought it would. Counting this 3rd trip to Slovakia, I’ve been part of 7 different short-term mission trips out of the USA. I know I’ve been deeply blessed on each of these trips and I trust God has used me to touch people’s hearts for His kingdom. Thanks to Cheri—I’ve learned that I can let go of the guilt and serve God with joy wherever He calls me. Right now, that place is in Slovakia. 🙂