Though I did not receive Christ as my personal Savior until my teen years, I somehow always knew God wanted me to be a missionary. God had called me to be a missionary to orphans in Mexico- I always knew it. That's where I belonged. I learned Spanish. I learned to work with children. I received the college education I needed. I loved Hispanic people, food, and culture. Mexico is where I felt at home.
Knowing that, I went to Mexico twice on mission trips. My parents, however, were very wise. They wanted me to have a well-rounded missions education and required me to go to other countries as well, which was good for me. Yet, I always knew I'd be back to Mexico. Then, the last time I visited Mexico, the Lord clearly shut the doors to ministry there. One after another. God left me with no doubt. He no longer wanted me in Mexico.
Confused, I came home from the trip and talked to my mom. What do I do? All my life, Mexican orphans had been my aim. Not anymore.
Very wisely, my mom explained that perhaps God wanted to use Mexico as training ground and to keep me focused through life. (Perhaps that is exactly what God did. I can be a very un-focused, flighty person, moving from one idea to the next. I needed a goal like that to keep me on track through my teen and early adult years.) Since I did not know what step to take next, I just kept doing what I had been doing before- serving the Lord in a way that I knew He would be pleased. I worked in children's ministries, music ministries, and served my family as best I could.
9 months later, I met a man going to the country of Georgia as a church planting missionary.... and well, you've read the rest. (or you can read "our love story" here) Up until now, I just took this at face value- God had used Mexico as my training/focus. Yet, here in Georgia, I've learned of the significance of God using this particular country to prepare me for the current field I'm in.
When one of the current missionary wives here heard I knew Spanish, she told me this would help me a lot. Many Georgian words are very similar to Spanish words. The culture is very similar. Bible and Biblical words are borrowed from the Spanish/Latin as well. Even the music resembles Hispanic style. Driving... now that is definitely as crazy as Mexicans.
Of course, we are all familiar with Romans 8:28. "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose." And, Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end." Yet how many times do we get to look back upon our lives and see all the puzzle pieces fit together? I get to see God's "expected end" for His good and glory through my life. So cool. Our God is truly great!