Year 2. As this Minnesotan summer came to a close and I said my goodbyes to my beautiful people, I couldn’t help but realize that many of them, almost all of them, are starting new journeys this year. Last year was a transition year for many and this year we will walk forward together in newness. The newness of engagement, of marriage, of moves across the country, of new roommates and of new big kid jobs. I sat praying for all of these new beginnings and found myself asking, “But, Lord, what about me?” What does year 2 look like? What does this mean? Is going back to Uruguay new or old? “The same, but different” is the not-so-comforting-but-true wisdom I got from my best friend, and this oxymoron actually sort of describes how I am feeling as I once again leave Minnesota and fly to Montevideo, Uruguay. So what is new about this year and what will stay the same?
A new team.
Yay! I am praising God for His provision because He put this team together! So far, so good 🙂 We spent last week together at our STINT Briefing conference in Chicago, learning about God’s heart for the world and learning about what this next year on STINT (Short Term INTernational) could look like for us as we do full-time cross-cultural ministry. Of course, we also spent most of the week laughing together, spent one day exploring downtown Chicago, and spent hours practicing a step routine that we performed on one of the last days of the conference. These four are AWESOME and I’m so excited to work with them to bring the love of Jesus to Uruguayan college students. Praying that we will step out in great faith this year, pray BIG prayers, and trust God for the impossible.
A new role.
Most know that I am going back with the same job, working full-time for Cru (Cruzada or Vida Estudiantil in Uruguay) but this year I, along with Zach, have been asked to lead the team! This basically means we will have slightly more responsibility and authority over the team this year. We will work more closely with the Uruguayan couple also on staff with Cru (Andres and Silvana) and have a role in caring for our team through the challenges of living and doing ministry overseas. I am so thankful for this opportunity to depend on the Lord and grow in leadership!
Some new expectations.
I have a year of experience in Uruguay already so naturally, this changes my expectations a little bit. Last year I was leaving the comfortable and stepping out into something completely 100% unknown. I cried the whole way there on the plane and I had almost no expectations. This year, I know the things I am going back to. I know the things that are hard, the things that I hate, and also all of the things that I love so much about Montevideo. My apartment will hopefully feel like home, the language won’t be quite as foreign, and I will have friends welcoming me upon arrival. I know what the food is like, what the weather is like, and más o menos, what ministry looks like there. I expect the transition to be easier, but I also know that God has a plan for me to grow in new ways this year as I walk with Him.
The same hopes, dreams, and goals.
Cru all over the world aims to reach lost students for Jesus, build them up in their faith, and send them out as Christ-centered laborers. This is and always will be our goal as we step onto the college campus in Montevideo. This is something that we experienced on our campuses here in the States, something we are excited about, and something we believe in! The goal is not to force Christianity into people’s lives or tell them that they are wrong in what they believe. Our hope is that we could break through the apathy present among college students, break down the negative stereotypes the have about the church, and help the students to see Jesus for who He really is. We have experienced Christ’s redeeming power in our lives and we want to share that with as many people as possible. It is such a joy to join God where He is working and serve Him in Uruguay!
The same love.
“For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised” (2 Corinthians 5:14-15). All of these things we do out of the love of Jesus Christ, who loved us so much He gave himself up for us as payment for our sins so that we could have a right relationship with God the Father. We love because He first loved us. As I grow in my own faith and continue to learn about God, I understand more and more His love for me and for the world. We are in Uruguay controlled by this love, desiring to share it with people who have never heard the name of Jesus.