There are so many things I wish I could tell people now that I am back in the States, after having been in Guatemala. So many questions I don’t have time to answer honestly. But this one has been on my heart this week so why don’t we get our truth on and talk about my “honest” answer to the never-ending question:
“Do you want to go back to Guatemala?”
If you ask me this question in public I will tell you yes. Because, yes, its a lovely country with a really fun, different culture and of course, I have friends there now. But in reality, I don’t want to go back to be a missionary in Guatemala. And its not because I don’t like the people. Or the culture. Or the food.
It’s because being a missionary is HARD.
And that is not coming from experience. I spent four months watching ministry, and I would never describe what I did as formal ministry. I got to experience life in another culture, yes, but sharing the Gospel in that culture? …Totally different and much more complex. You wanna know how else I know that being a missionary is hard? Because when they talk about their work they don’t talk about it like they just stepped off a plane after spending two weeks in Africa. They’re not gushing about how many lives they saved or how many babies they held or how many churches they painted.
To be perfectly honest, that’s not being a missionary. That’s being in youth group.
Being a missionary requires so much more than what I thought it did. During our last week in Guatemala, we spent a lot of time talking about what we had learned during our time there. I remember mentioning to my roommate one evening as we were walking down the mountain, “I feel like the biggest thing that I have learned is not HOW to be a missionary, but HOW MUCH it costs.” Frankly, I’m not sure if I’m ready to pay that cost.
I don’t know if I am ready to leave behind things like my identity again. Or my culture…which contrary to what everyone thinks, is pretty awesome sometimes. I don’t know if I can ever leave my family again, which contrary to what everyone thinks, your family in another country is NOT the same. And I don’t know if I can sacrifice having my own experiences deeply understood, in order to try and share the Gospel with people I don’t understand. THAT’S hard.
BUT, I really want to be able to say that I would give all those things up for the sake of Christ. I think that God has called all of us, in some way or another to give up what is dearest to us in order that He can give us something even better. I’m not a missionary. But I would like to be one someday.
Even though my mind has only begun to recognize what following God overseas may look like, I think it means much more than we realize. May we all come before our Father, willing to serve however, wherever He wants us, by His power. Amen