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Senior utilizes language, shares Gospel in Colombia

My heart is pounding as I contemplate whether or not to start a conversation with the woman sitting next to me on the airplane ride home. After spending ten days in Colombia and utilizing my three years of Spanish, my confidence to speak the language has grown, and I feel ready to take on yet another challenge.

Suddenly, I slip out of my thoughts when I realize the woman is struggling with trying to figure out her headphones. I quickly turn to help her and she warmly welcomes my assistance; the conversation has just commenced.

From June 28-July 10, I had the opportunity to go on a short term mission trip to Quindio, Colombia. There my team served alongside a missionary family who is originally from Fresno, CA.

During these ten days in-country, my team held a three-day vacation Bible school, a sports camp, hosted an adult Bible Study, fixed houses and aimed to build relationships centered on Christ.

My mind goes back to the plane ride home, sitting next to that woman. I was able to use my Spanish to simply help her figure out headphones and to start a conversation.

About halfway through our interaction, I was able to gently slip in the Gospel message through a bracelet I was wearing. God really did show me that wherever I am, there are always opportunities to love on others.

Although I fell in love with the people there and coming home was a hard transition, I am confident that the Lord will take what I learned in Colombia and challenge me to live by it everyday here at home.

Within this short time, God challenged me in new ways and taught me more about building relationships with others. One thing in particular that God taught me was to be aware of my surroundings and to utilize my resources, with the reminder that He is my source and strength.

Each day, I knew the Holy Spirit was working, whether it was through helping me communicate with the people in Spanish, or through putting the desire in my heart to openly share the Gospel with kids.

Before going, I wanted to make sure that I went with the attitude of learning from the people, instead of thinking that I could teach them something. Sure enough, I was humbled by how the Colombians live life. From welcoming me in to their dirt-floor homes, to saying goodbye each time with a kiss on the cheek and a “chau!”

I learned to simply love. Love could mean putting a tin roof on someone’s bathroom, playing jump rope with a group of kids or just sitting next to a little girl while she does her homework.

Whatever the case, the Colombian people showed me that no matter where you are from or where you go, you can always love those around you. God has not only opened my eyes to those who live in foreign countries but also to those who surround me everyday at home.

Wherever I am, my hope is to continually be looking for opportunities to share God’s love with others by stepping outside my comfort zone and seeking what my Heavenly Father desires for me.

As my final year of high school approaches, I am ready to live out what God has taught me. I want to stop focusing on my personal comfort and strive to be like Jesus in loving the unlovely and seeking out the lost.

For more articles on summer mission trips, read the Aug. 29 article,
Philippines mission trip revered.
For more opinions, read the May 17 article, Mental illness influences, matures senior.

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  • J

    Juan RuelasAug 17, 2012 at 12:04 am

    Dude, Chandler you look so buff!