I think the initial echoes of my call to Africa came from the urban U.S. After my freshman year of college, I spent a month on an inner-city mission project in Bakersfield, CA. One of my favorite activities was working with kids there. One group of them came from rough backgrounds--sometimes their parents argued late at night, others only had one parent, and many struggled to trust people because they had been let down so many times. Still, on my birthday, they ganged up to give me a hug so enthusiastic that it knocked me out of my chair! Seeing how the love of Christ had given them joy made me consider how I could spread that love around the world.
The fall after I returned from California I decided that I wanted to serve worldwide through teaching and began learning more Spanish. During spring semester, my college church offered a shortened version of Perspectives, a class about missions. As I studied the materials and heard stories from other missionaries, God's love and plan for all people became even clearer. One group that stood out was the Wycliffe Bible Translators, started by Cameron Townsend. When Townsend was a young man, he sold Spanish Bibles in Guatemala for a while. He noticed that many people there didn't speak Spanish, and Cakchiquel people repeatedly asked him "If your God is so smart, why doesn't he speak our language?" Townsend answered their question by learning their language and translating the Bible into Cakchiquel so that they could know that God spoke their language and loved them. As I heard about Wycliffe, I wanted to be part of sharing God's word with people in the language of their heart, so I got in touch with recruiters to discuss possibilities. I still had three years of school, but my heart was already being pulled abroad.
God kept confirming my call throughout the rest of my time at Michigan State. During my senior year, he kept pressing Revelation 5:9 on my heart. It says:
And they sang a new song: "You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation."
Finally, during my student teaching, I was able to investigate possible ministry positions with Wycliffe. Originally I wanted to step right into translation or literacy work, but God showed me the importance of children's education. I began looking at ways to use teaching, just as I originally planned. God laid two conditions on my heart for the position that I would take.
- Excellence: Colossians 3:23 says "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men." God told me that I would be able to provide quality instruction in the field he had prepared for me.
- Unreached peoples: God impressed upon me that the position would support the work of sharing the Gospel with people who couldn't hear otherwise. While there is still plenty of work to do in reached countries like Poland and Sweden, my passion is for sharing in new places, where the good news of Jesus' love is being shared for the first time.
As I looked through Wycliffe's job postings, I found a position in Cameroon that fits both of these conditions. Rain Forest International School in Cameroon had a need for a Spanish and math instructor. RFIS is an international Christian school that educates the children of language and support workers from Wycliffe and other mission groups, as well as Cameroonians. My strongest area of certification is in Spanish, and I have a fair amount of experience in math instruction. I trust that with God's help, I will be an excellent teacher there. In terms of unreached people groups, there are 278 languages in Cameroon, and Wycliffe has 106 language projects there. I can support translation work there by ensuring that the children of missionaries and other support workers get an excellent education from compassionate teachers.
During my time in Cameroon, I pray that I will be an excellent teacher and model for my students. I also pray that God will reveal the next step in his plan for my life. I love languages and hope to work among Bibleless peoples until all have heard. As I mentioned earlier, I am interested in translation or literacy work. I pray that God will use my experiences to explore missions and find out if he perhaps he wants me to serve in some other role.
If you also have a passion for reaching the uttermost ends of the earth with the glory of God, I invite you to partner with me. You can pray for me and for the groups that have yet to hear. You can also help by encouraging me or by giving financially. If you'd like to sign up as a regular prayer or financial partner, please visit http://www.wycliffe.org/Partnership.aspx?mid=29E36F. I am excited about what God is going to do, and even more excited to share it with you!