I wrote this piece while in Costa Rica at the request of a friend. The question she posed to me was, “What led me to this journey?”. Here’s what I had to say…
Maybe this will clear things up for those who didn’t understand why “I would want to do a crazy thing like that!”
I arrived at college last fall with a specific direction and goal. I wanted to get a bachelors degree in communications, focusing on Promotional Communications and Public Relations. With my degree, I always dreamed of becoming a publicist for a PR firm in Nashville (or, at this point, anywhere with better weather than Mansfield Ohio). I didn’t have a problem figuring out what type of career I wanted, what to major in, or where to go to school. But of course, just when you think you have everything figured out, God throws a curveball.
The January before I went off to college I went to Guatemala on a missions trip with Crossroads Community Church. The trip was nothing short of amazing. What I loved most was getting to learn about and form an understanding of a culture so different than my own. Saying the trip was an eye opener to the things our culture takes advantage of would be an understatement.
By the end of the trip, I was feeling like this wasn’t a place you just visited for a week and these weren’t the people that you could just meet, work with, and form friendships with, and then turn around, fly home, and never see again. So, the next year my mom and I were back again with Crossroads, eager to see what ways God could use us next.
Upon returning to Ohio after the second trip, I had an overwhelming feeling of uncertainty about the path I was choosing for my life. There had to be more important things I could be doing. Farmers can pick coffee beans on the side of a volcano in the scorching sun all day, just to support their families, and the hardest thing I do all week is attend physics class? I actually have the opportunity to get a higher education, so why don’t I use it for something greater? There had to be more important things I was supposed to be doing. While being a publicist isn’t unimportant, my thought process at the time was that it was a career that I would probably enjoy and would make me money. But where in that equation would I be doing the work of God? Making any sort of impact? Is that what God put me on the earth to do? The day to day things I had to do seemed so trivial, so unimportant. That was the curveball. The uncertainty. All the sudden I was second guessing everything I thought I had figured out.
After lots of thoughts, prayers, and research, I decided to get a Spanish Minor and I found a program for cultural immersion…less than a month ago. Somehow, all the details and all the reasons for not going seemed to fall away and God provided.
Currently, I am in Costa Rica for a cultural immersion program. This is an idea I have been thinking about for awhile and finally, I just figured, what’s stopping me? When I return I also will be pursuing an International Relations Minor. With this education, my goal is to still pursue a public relations career but, to work for international non-profits. Having an International Relations Minor and some knowledge of the Spanish language, I hope to be better able to connect with people who are different than me. After all, how do you connect with people when you don’t understand their culture and with whom you literally cannot communicate.
Now, I feel that the money and time I spend on studies has more purpose. I hope to live my life selflessly and place more value on building relationships and showing empathy and compassion for others. The trips with Crossroads made me see that there needed to be more to my goals than money and success and for that, I am beyond grateful.
As I re-read this piece, I am:
1.) amused to remember just what I was thinking and feeling at that time. 2.) Incredibly grateful for yet another trip to Guatemala with Crossroads. 3.) Still in shock that I actually lived in Costa Rica, knowing no one, for a month 4.) Blessed with new friendships, new knowledge, and incredible memories 5.) AND still not completely sure what God has in store for my future, but completely faithful that He’ll be letting me know…