If you are reading this, you are most likely aware that soon I will be traveling to Bogota, Colombia to teach English for a month. Some of you are possibly questioning why I am doing so and what it is exactly that I will be doing. I plan on using this blog as a means of updating everyone who chooses to follow my experiences in Colombia and whatever else I decide to use this blog for. To get started, here is a little bit about me and why I made the decision to go to Colombia.
I am a junior at Lee University in Cleveland, TN where I major in Theology and Teaching English as a Second Language. I am possibly going to add a Spanish minor. In high school, I participated in a tutoring program for English Language Learning students. In my community, the majority of the ELLs are Hispanic. I began to fall in love with these students and their progress in the English language, but I also fell in love with their culture and their native language as I began to get to know them more. However, I never thought about teaching ESL at the time.
Upon graduating high school, I planned to attend Lee and study Intercultural Studies. I should have known that I would end up changing majors when I traveled to Honduras for a mission trip June 2014. While on this mission trip, I was introduced to a bilingual school that would open the upcoming fall. I was completely enamored by the culture, the people, and the heart behind the planting of the school. Even then, I never considered ESL.
I decided on ESL during my second year at Lee. The two classes I took for the TESOL program and the hours I spent tutoring ELLs both during high school and the spring semester, was enough to convince me and compel me that this is what I needed to pursue.
I never wanted to wait until I was grown to travel. I never wanted to wait until I had a degree in hand to do the ministry and practice the trade that God had called me to. After a recommendation and much research, I decided to plan an excursion to teach English through Cultural Homestay International. I decided on Colombia because I could work on my Spanish, and I have been told my many Lee friends that Colombia is an overall great place to travel. I did not have a lot of time to save money or to enroll in the program, find a host family, and make necessary travel arrangements, but God has provided.
He never fails me. He continually amazes me. I have seen His hand at work through this whole process of planning and saving and raising money. I admit that through this season I haven’t been the most diligent or obedient, but God has still worked through the weaknesses that I struggle to overcome every single day. I see God at work through the generosity of people who have known me and loved me for years, but I have also see Him through the graciousness of strangers who slip me $5 and $10 tips while carhopping at Sonic. I saw God at work when I submitted my paperwork to search for a host family, and in just 48 hours time, I had a family. I’ve seen God’s mercy in the willingness of two music groups who agreed to play a show to help fund my month in Colombia.
And I feel humbled, because somewhere in my heart, I feel like I don’t deserve this opportunity and the kind of support I have been receiving. I haven’t prayed enough. I haven’t genuinely sought God enough. I haven’t lived in an honorable way enough. I am a failure.
But I guess that’s what makes grace, well, grace. It’s undeserved. It’s unrestrained. It’s not an excuse for me to continue in failure, but a catalyst to respond with obedience, thanksgiving, and worship to my Heavenly Father who is making a way for me to learn, grow, achieve dreams, and accomplish His will.
I leave in two, short weeks. I have become flooded with paperwork about travel and teaching. What was excitement is now nervousness. Even though I am beginning to stress out, a part of me is at ease knowing that I have a God that is there to guide, protect, and love me.
My Jesus is so good. And tonight I am so thankful. I am amazed at His love for me even when I least deserve it.
And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2 Corinthians 12:9