After I graduated from high school I started helping out in the youth group at my church. The common mission trip is going to Mexico during spring break. So that is what I did for numerous years. But there was one year that was a little different. It wasnt anything special, just another trip to Mexico, but this time my Mom came with me. On this trip, God showed me that there was more to be done here. That there was still people there that didnt understand that it is a relationship with Him that He wanted. I was overwhelmed with the feeling of helplessness when I came home. There was so many people in Mexico, back home and all over the world that didn't know God, that didnt have a relationship with him. I didnt know what God wanted me to do. I prayed and remember feeling as though this was just the beginning of something bigger that God was stirring in my life.
In 2003, the church that I was at took 16 students and 4 leaders to Romania for a 2 week mission trip. It was my first time in eastern Europe and my first time in that country. For the 2 weeks that we were there, we got to stay with host families, we did VBS at a church and got to go to the capital for a few days. It was a great trip and while I was there I felt God calling me back.
The following year, I decided to spend my summer there.The first month there, we stayed in the same city. We all lived together with the pastor and his family. It did take some time to get used to living in a city and being in a country that I didnt know the language. They spoke Hungarian and I didn't. They had mineral water, which I didnt like but they had vanilla coke which was amazing.While we were there, we got to do VBS with the kids, did an outreach ministry with the Gypsy's and put on a camp for a nearby village.
The second month we traveled every week to a different village. The first week we join another team and did a camp for the Gypsy's in a nearby town. Then we went to another village for a week and did a VBS day camp for nearby villages. This was the first time that I had visit villages that had never heard the gospel and I felt like there was more I should be doing but couldn't.
At the end of our 2 month there, we met up with our 2 week team and headed to Budapest, Hungary to debrief and process everything that we have learned over the last 2 months. During this time, one of my dearest friend, Susan was there. She had came with the 2 week team. It was great to have her there, she helped me process everything, prayed with me and encouraged me. It was during that time that I heard God tell me not here, not yet. See those where the questions that I needed answered. He told me that I was not called to Romania and it wasn't my time to go yet. So I came back to Fresno, I came back to work, doing youth ministry and trying to figured out where God wanted me to go.
In 2010 I got the chance to take 15 students along with 4 other leaders to Costa Rica with Students International. It was a life changing experience! I fell in love with Costa Rica, with the culture, the language, the people. While I was there, I got the chance to talk to the director. I explained to him what had been on my heart. He asked if I thought about CR and honestly at the time, I didn’t. I asked that he give me a year to pray about it and process that thought about maybe moving there.When I got back, I prayed about the idea. I wrote in my journal, then put it on the shelf for a few months. I didn’t want to be consumed by it, but I wanted to pray and let God do his work.
In the spring of 2011, we started to plan for another trip to CR. I knew that I was supposed to go on this trip again. This time I was going to be able to co-lead the team and with that I was going to be able to go to each site. I started to pray again. I knew that God was doing something, but I wasn’t sure. It had been a year since I had been in the country and I wasn’t sure if I was going to have the same heart or passion for it. I told just a hand full of my closets friends about what I felt God doing in my life, in my heart. So July came and we left to CR. We (the team) were gone for 14 days. During the last week we were there, I met with the CR director and his wife. We talked about a lot of things, but mainly we talked about me possibly moving to CR and being a part of the SI staff. I told them that I needed a few more months to pray and that I wanted to come back and experience life there without teams. Needless to say, I went back and felt God calling me to be apart of the work that HE is going there in Costa Rica!