It all began in the winter of 2015 … the gentle nudging of the Holy Spirit … and the sense that perhaps I should look into serving Jesus Christ abroad as a missionary. The questions soon followed: is this really the Lord calling me to missions or is this just a fantastical dream? Do I really want to relocate to another continent when I love my comfy, Southern California life? Where should I even go? After some prayer and a little reflection, only one thing seemed nearly certain to me: if I were to go, it most likely would be a Latin American country. I’ve always had a heart for Latinos: their way of life, their beautiful language, and their rich and diverse customs.
As the questions hanged in the balance with no sign of immediate answers, I decided that taking steps forward would be the next best move. One of my favorite verses is Hebrews 11:8b: “And he went out, not knowing where he was going.” This verse speaks of Abraham’s willingness to put his faith in the Lord and leave his birthplace of Ur even though God hadn’t revealed the destination or much of the plan. The next step of faith for me was joining Nueva Vida (New Life), an evangelical, Hispanic church in my area. It wasn’t long before I was fully integrated into a wonderful, loving body of believers. I started serving the church as an usher, greeting people as they entered the church, and I began teaching English to some of the congregants on Saturdays. My calculus over the next several months was that if God wanted me to serve abroad in a Latin American country, He would train me up in this church and sustain the desire to serve Him abroad.
Nearly a year passed as the Lord exercised his role as the Potter and shaped my spiritual clay. He taught me the importance of being on my knees in prayer (constantly!), staying in the Word as my daily bread, and learning to lean on family and friends for insight and prayer. As I prayed through where to go, I settled on two countries that kept popping into my mind, one of which was Bolivia. As I drilled down a little deeper, I focused heavily on Santa Cruz de la Sierra—a massive, sprawling city of 1.5 million people near the heart of Bolivia with a large population of university students. Imagine my surprise when I met a new couple at church who just happened to be from Santa Cruz de la Sierra. Human wisdom would proclaim that this is a lucky coincidence, but I believe in a sovereign God, so I knew that I had to talk with this couple. Needless to say, after a three hour lunch at The Habit and a long conversation about El Alfarero (The Potter), an evangelical organization in Santa Cruz de la Sierra that works with university students, I just knew that I had to go down on a vision trip.
I could write a novella of my experiences during my vision trip and all of the ways that God spoke to me while I was down there. I will say in short that after I visited with the staff at El Alfarero, I knew that I wanted to return. I witnessed how the hearts of those who work at the organization burned with the desire to share the gospel of Christ with college students. I saw staff and students working together side by side in kindness and patience. At the center of everything they did was the strong conviction that Christ is the way, the truth, and the life. I longed to be a part of this team.
After I returned home I spent a great deal of time in prayer and seeking wisdom from my friends, family, and pastor. The answer about whether I should go back was an overwhelming yes on all fronts. Shortly thereafter, I received a formal invitation from El Alfarero to return. I’ve made a two year commitment to teach English as a second language to university students and through the English classes share Christ with my students.
This blog will be a way for me to share my experiences of faith, my road to Bolivia, my prayer requests, and hopefully receive encouragement and words of wisdom from brothers and sisters in Christ.
Grace be with you!