What I know now
Two years ago I started my commitment with OM Chile, and now, at the end of this month, it is coming to a bitter-sweet end. For my last blog post I decided to write down the advice I would give my nineteen-year-old self if I could go back in time.
Here we go…
“You have no idea what you are in for! Be humble and go with the flow.”
“Talk to strangers! It’s the best way to make friends.”
“Don’t be afraid to speak the language – even if you're terrible. You will improve much quicker!”
“Hold on to your stuff TIGHT in the metro, or else you might arrive at your destination without your wallet and phone. I’m speaking from experience.”
“Dance more because every once in a while you need to shake it off!”
“Get off the OM base and go exploring! You’ll find a lot of cool places.”
“Pray more - God listens to every word and answers.”
“Cockroaches aren’t poisonous. You won’t die even if they are crawling all over you, head to toe.”
“Ask questions. Don’t just smile and nod if you don’t understand.”
“Pack a winter coat, gloves and a hat. Latin America also has a fierce winter!”
“Don’t believe everything you hear. Trust in God and not in gossip.”
“You don’t know it yet, but Spanish music is about to become your jam!”
On a more serious note…
What would I tell that 19-year-old girl boarding her flight to leave home? Tears in her eyes saying goodbye to her family, but unbelievably excited to start an adventure.
To be honest, I think if I could have told her all the amazing things that would happen she might not have gotten on that flight. For that 19-year-old girl it would have been too much to know all the beautiful and challenging things God had in store for her.
Telling her the depth of love she would experience with the homeless in Chile, but also about the moments of fear or heartbreak that were to come working in the ministry.
Telling her about becoming fluent in a new language, but also about the 12 months of pure frustration before Spanish finally started to sink in.
Telling her she would return engaged, but that it wouldn’t be to the person she was dating when she left Ohio.
Thinking about what I could possibly tell 19-year-old me…I wouldn’t want to tell her anything. I wouldn’t want to give her any spoilers (To be honest, she was (is) pretty stubborn and probably wouldn’t have listened anyway). I would have just liked to give her a nice long hug, push her onto the plane and yell, “Enjoy every moment, because two years fly by quick!”
"He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end..." - Ecclesiastes 3:11 (NIV)
No words can describe God’s love and faithfulness. He deserves all the honour and all the praise because He is nothing but good. I thank Him for these two amazing years in Chile and I am looking forward to whatever He has in store for me in the future.
"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows." - James 1:17 (NIV)
If I can leave you with anything it is this: Seek God, trust Him, obey Him and pack a lot of bug spray.