It's crazy to think that it has already been two years since I landed in my target country.
At that time, I had no idea what was in-store for me over the two years. Some things were to be expected like challenges with my target language and adjusting to culture shock, but even those can present challenges in forms that I didn't imagine. Then there's other challenges that I wouldn't of necessarily expected, anything from a fair number of changes in team dynamics with people joining and leaving, figuring out what making friendships look like, trying to balance anything from studying to reaching our target people group, and that is all in the first year. At the end of my first year, little did I know that my second year would be even stranger and in ways more challenging. Due to the outbreak of COVID, I spent almost as much time in my country as I did out of it during my two years. Between bouncing around a few different countries to finally coming back to the States, it has been a crazy year, but it is has been for everyone.
At the start of my two years, I also couldn't have imagined the friendships that I would make both with foreigners as well as with locals, the joy of being some of the first ones to start building a relationship with people in a remote Himalayan village, getting to hear stories of people who have been there longer as to what it has been like for them working in these villages, and the joy of starting to learn a new language to be a part of a different society.
Through everything that has happened during my two years, from struggling with language, to making friends, from not knowing what to expect stepping off a plane, to not knowing when I’ll be able to go back while stepping on one to leave, God has always been there and has been faithful even when it doesn’t feel like it. Often in the moment, I wouldn’t be able to see how God was working in those times or it may have felt like that He was absent. However, each time looking back, I see how His hand was guiding me and how he always provided what I needed.
So with all of that in mind, my message to future Goers is this, keep trusting in God and what He is doing in situations. This has unfortunately become cliche as we can often hear it, so it doesn’t carry the weight it should. As you are preparing to go overseas and once you arrive, you might think that because of past challenges and ways God has provided that you have learned how to trust, I know I did, but in my experience, each day brings with it its own challenges and new dimensions of trust. I think this is the reason that we were taught to ask for our daily bread as our trust in God’s provision has to be new everyday.