I'M MOVING TO MINNESOTA!!!!!!!!!!! I'M STILL WRAPPING MY MIND AROUND THIS FACT!!!!!!!
My name is Rebecca. I am a missionary. I'm moving away from Texas in all of its sunshiney, Mexican food-y glory to serve the Lord with Saint Paul's Outreach. I have been placed at the University of Minnesota. I haven't seen real snow since I was probably 8 years old. I am terrified, overjoyed, and completely at peace all at the same time.
This weekend was a whirlwind. On Friday, June 5th, SPO Mission Leader Training 2015 officially came to a close. I flew from Minneapolis to Dallas to Austin. After a quick trip to get tacos, I got back to my apartment in San Marcos and slept for 10 hours. As of Sunday, I have officially started meeting with people about personal support raising and building my support team. It's as real as it gets. This is my vocation, my full-time job, my life. And I honestly couldn't be more thankful.
The Lord placed the call to be a missionary on my heart back in August of 2012. I, being the stubborn and terrified girl that I was back then, said no. (Shoutout to Jesus for His never-ending patience and unconditional love, because boy was I difficult.) I started actually considering being a missionary in February of 2014. I realized that the Lord was most likely calling me to serve with Saint Paul's Outreach in October of 2014. Finally, I accepted the job with SPO in January of 2015. Needless to say, it has been quite the journey. The Lord has gone through leaps and bounds to get me where I am. I realized this in a very profound way at Mission Leader Training.
Because I've been signed on to join SPO for the past six months, to say that there was a lot of anticipation is an understatement. I've never been big on the whole "diving headfirst into the unknown" thing. Now I'm by no means a stranger to SPO and how they work, but my knowledge was only based on what SPO did for me in college. I had no clue what training would really be like, even though my missionary friends had told me bits and pieces. It's something I knew I would have to experience on my own to understand. Even now I'm not sure if I can fully articulate what MLT was like for me. But there was one over-arching theme that seems to stand out the most when I reflect on those first 10 days in the NET center: gratitude.
Like I said earlier, the Lord really went through leaps and bounds to get me where I am today. I was scared and stubborn and holding the Lord at an arm's length out of a deep-set fear that He actually didn't want good things for me. I was baffled that the Lord would even consider me to do something like this. I looked at my friends who had gone before me to do His work in this way and could see how "perfectly" they "fit the mold" (I realize what a load of garbage that is now) of a missionary, but I knew I wasn't as brave/holy/good with people/insert-adjective-here as them. All of these fears and lies swam around in my head for a long time, and I can't say there was a big moment where I at once rejected all of those thoughts. However, the Lord began to gradually shine light on each of these things as I got closer to hearing and responding to the call.
During MLT, I had a lot of time to think about my journey. One of the most common first questions when you get to know someone at training is, "How did you decide you wanted to be a missionary?" I knew in the depths of my heart that it wasn't my own decision-making that got me here. If it were up to me, my life would be way less awesome than it is now. But, thankfully, the Lord gave me the graces I needed to cooperate with His will. While reflecting on this in prayer, the Lord took me back to John 15:16: "You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide; so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you."
You did not choose me, but I chose you. I know this for certain. Becoming a missionary has always been a part of the Lord's plan for my life; it just took me awhile to catch up. And, like I mentioned earlier, I am filled with so much gratitude. Saint Paul's Outreach is an incredible organization. My fellow brother and sister missionaries are some of the most joyful people I have ever encountered. The community I am now a part of is so welcoming, authentic, and loving. My full-time job is to meet people and tell them about the Lord. I get to live life with these college students; I get to share in their joys and in their struggles, and I get to walk with them as they figure out why they're here and what the Lord has in store for them. I'm in the full-time business of helping people get to Heaven. There's no more important work that I would rather be doing. And I get to do it all with these 8 awesome people by my side:
Quick shoutout to my team: I can't wait to begin serving with this awesome group of people. They all rock. I'm sure you'll learn more about them this year as I get to know them better, too!
So here I stand, an entire journey behind me, at one finish line only to find myself at another starting line. I have been employed with SPO for a mere 14 days and I am already so thankful for what I have experienced. This year is going to be an adventure. I want to remember as much as I can.
Praise the Lord that He is not a God that gives up on us. He is a God on our side. He is a God who will not relent until He has our whole heart. His plan is infinitely better than what our minds can come up with. Trust Him.
To Jesus through Mary,
My name is Rebecca. This blog is a documentation of my life as a missionary with Saint Paul's Outreach - in Minnesota, Florida, and everywhere in-between. Thanks for stopping by!