As I sat in the jungle, in the midst of the panic around me, I suddenly realized “I have no fear. I’m ready God. Let’s do this.”
I had always loved to travel. It was something my parents started when we were very young. We did long road trips every summer. We stopped in out of the way places. We learned about other cultures and places. When I was 13 I planned my first mission trip. I was going to go with my dad to Congo (A place he was evacuated out of every trip). We never made it there. Changes at the church meant that my dad couldn’t be gone that long. Instead, we went to Germany and visited some missionaries we knew there. I can’t say that I accomplished much on my first ‘Mission trip’. I mostly hung out with my friend and ate ice cream. After that I went on several trips out of the country for school and pleasure. I loved every minute of it. It was invigorating to be in a new place, but this was nothing to what I was about to experience.
When I was 19 years old, my life changed abruptly. I met and married a man I thought was a car mechanic. Turns out God had a greater call on both of us than we ever thought possible. Within a year, we moved 3 hours away to become Children’s Pastors at FMFC. A few months after taking the job, we attended the church retreat. The best way I can put it is, God got ahold of me and several other people in the camp. We started a new worship service at the church called Revolution. Because of our worship band, Ben and I were invited to join a mission team going to Panama as the worship leaders. For me, this was a fun opportunity to add to my list of countries that I had visited as well as an opportunity to get my husband to shut up- right before we started dating, Ben had gone on a trip to Latin America. Since then, he’d had Latin America on the brain. He kept telling me, “I want to live in Latin America some day” and I replied “uh huh, sure.” Now we had a chance to go, maybe he would get his fix and quit bugging me. Travel is fun, but moving...living in a third world country...I don’t know.
So we went on the mission trip.
The team was led by an Optometrist and we spent our days doing over a hundred eye exams per day in some of the poorest areas that our contact could find. Most of these people had no access to health care, so when they heard that the eye doctor is coming, the only word they actually heard was “Doctor.” We had several people every day come in with complaints of every kind. As a paramedic, I spent a fair amount of time being the only ‘doctor’ these people ever saw. For the last half of our trip, we went into the Darien Jungle. The government provided us with armed guards (in case of an attack by Colombian Guerrillas) and we went 3 hours upriver by canoe to the village of Corozal. We spent a few days doing our normal clinics and we had some amazing experiences. On our last night, they threw a party for us. As I walked back to our hut to get my camera, I noticed our guards and our contact talking to the leaders of our team. When I got back to the hut, the rest of the team came pouring back into the building. We were told that there was a security breach and we were not allowed to leave the compound. We were also told to keep our packs and boots by our beds, and if we heard gunfire, we were to run to the river and head downstream until we got to the military base. As the team around me frantically packed their bags, I had an overwhelming sense of peace. I suddenly realized that my life would never be the same. I knew that God had given me my love of travel and my medical knowledge for a reason. I was called. I was chosen. I was made to be a missionary.
A month later, we were at Revolution. We were sitting in a circle talking out our callings. I proudly told everyone, “I am called to be a medical missionary.” Then Jess stood up and began speaking about her passion for human trafficking survivors. I suddenly felt the tugging on my heart and I knew. This is it. This is the moment. I know what I have to do. That night, Vos También was born. It’s been quite a journey, but I know that everything in my life has pointed me to this time. I am reminded of the words Mordecai said to Esther in Esther 4:14 when she refused her calling to help the Jews: “For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this."
I could remain safe and comfortable in my current life. I probably wouldn’t die, but I would be forfeiting my eternal destiny. I would be giving up my “royal position.” I would be sacrificing eternal rewards for earthly things which are not worth anything. I would be giving up the joy that can be had in living my life for others. It’s not worth it. I’m going to use the gifts that God has given me and gain more than I ever imagined.