My Heart For Missions

I am a first generation American from my dad's side of the family. So I grew up going to Mexico on a regular basis. I have pictures of me when I was little but honestly i dont really remember it that much. My first real memory was when I was 10 or 11. There was one visit that I had with my Dad that God started to stir in my heart for the lost. My dad took me to el centro (center of town) night. We sat on a bench eating our cup of fruit, people watching. There were some people talking and some dance to the music in the background. My dad asked me if I was having fun with my cousins and if I liked it there. Before I could reply, this little girl came to us. She was about 4 years old. Her hair was down but had tangles in it, she had a dress that was brown from the dirt. She didnt have shoes and she looked like she hadnt taken a shower in weeks. She asked my dad in the sweetest voice if he had any pesos. My dad looked at me and then gave her 5.00 worth of them. She was so excited, she ran to her mom and showed her and she told my father gracias (thank you). I asked my father why that little girl looked liked she did. He told me that, there are people here that are less fortunate then us and it was our responsibility to help them when we can. That we are blessed and shouldnt take that for granted.

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!  


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