If you had told me a couple of years ago that I would be moving to Africa for two years for full-time ministry work, I would've thought you were crazy. Missions work? Sure thing. Africa? Totally down. Ministry work? Heck yeah!
For TWO YEARS? Ummmmm..... yeah, not so sure about that part.
That idea of going for two years really challenged me. I had been a "goer" for several short-term trips, but never for something of this magnitude. Two years sounded extreme. The Lord began seriously working on me, chipping away at the parts of my heart and mind and will that were resistant. Now, although the fact that I'm going overseas for two years of ministry work after college as a GoCorps goer still amazes me, it also seems like the ideal amount of time to do something like this, especially in this season of post-grad life. Why? Glad you asked.
First of all, there's the whole idea of going overseas. That's an easy one. While there are absolutely difficult aspects of going overseas, the reward of doing so is hard to overstate. Not only is there the obvious thrill of venturing into the unknown on a beautiful new journey, but there is also the opportunity to be stretched in a way that could never happen at home. New culture, new language, new food, new currency, new means of transportation.... Nothing makes you assume the posture of a humble learner quite like moving overseas does. You will not be the same person that you were when you first boarded that plane. And that's an incredibly exciting opportunity.
Next is the idea of engaging in two years of ministry work. If I had a dime for every time I heard someone say, "Two years?!?! That's a long time," I would be a richer woman for sure. On the surface, two years does seem like a very long time. However, upon deeper reflection, two years is really such a small blip in the scheme of our whole lives. Two years ago I graduated from college, and yet that feels like it was only yesterday. A few months ago was the two year anniversary of my grandfather's death, and yet it seems like his presence hasn't been gone from us for that long. I'm 23 now, and when I return I'll only be 25. And my goodness, for God, two years is nuthin'! Especially with ministry work. In the scheme of eternity, giving two years of your life for Kingdom work that has repercussions far beyond human comprehension (and far beyond our conception of time) is really not all that long at all. Moreover, practically speaking, two years is a good amount of time to adjust culturally, learn a new language, and build real relationships with people that will give your ministry a richness and a depth that a short-term missions trip simply does not allow the time for. Two years of ministry work opens up doors that two weeks or two months cannot.
Then there's the timing of going overseas as a recent college grad (college senior and recent grad peeps--this is for you!!!). The time that you have right after college is an incredibly unique season and stage of life. It looks quite different for everyone, but for most people, this is the time to go. There are few better times to go out and engage the world for Christ for two years than right after you get out of college. There is often time and freedom and opportunity in abundance--more so than when you have a family and a mortgage and a demanding full-time career in the states. Plus, it presents the chance to take your degree and use it to an extent that you may have never dreamed of before. The chance to practically live out your education in a variety of work experiences that you may have never considered before, but find are close to your heart and your passions in ways that you never realized. The missions field is ever-changing, and young adults within a few years of exiting college comprise an essential and ever-growing need in the missions field. Your young age or "fresh-out-of-college" standing is not a disadvantage to you when thinking about entering the missions field--it is actually one of your greatest assets that the Lord will use in incredible ways.
And finally, there's GoCorps. I'll be working for United World Mission in South Africa, but the organization that recruited me, coached me, trained me in fundraising, and continues to walk with me through the crazy process of moving overseas is GoCorps. If you've read the past few paragraphs of this blog and have been thinking in your head, "Yeah ok, this whole overseas for two years thing, I can get behind that. After college? Sure thing. Now how the heck do I make that happen?", I understand. The bajillions of applications, references, and interviews with a bajillion different organizations that are all doing great work... it can be overwhelming. That's where GoCorps comes in. They do the research to pick awesome placements with good leadership, and then streamline the process of picking the placement that's right for you. They are truly an "on-ramp" into long-term missions, and truly a blessing in how they make the enormous task of moving overseas for ministry work a doable and even enjoyable one.
I hope that sharing some of these experiences and reflections have been helpful, and that some of you may even step into you own journey of what two years with GoCorps could look like :)