I arrived in Uruguay in August of 2013 with a lot of faith and with little expectations, hoping to share the gospel with Uruguayan students. I was excited to be working with Cru, hoping to build spiritual movements everywhere so that every student would have the opportunity to know someone who truly follows Jesus Christ. I knew that I would be talking with students every day, asking them about God, and hopefully sharing with them the Good News of Jesus and His saving grace. I knew that it would be hard to be away from home, to speak Spanish all the time, and to adjust to a new culture, but I did not anticipate the joy that would come with the trials. I hoped to see lives transformed by the Gospel, but I didn’t really expect to be such good friends with those people and I didn’t expect my own life would be transformed so dramatically. I did not know that I would one day be able to pray, worship, laugh, cry, make friends, and do life all in Spanish. I did not know that I would finish these two years incredibly happy, having made truly unforgettable friends and some incredible memories.
Matthew 13:44-46 says, “The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field, which a person finds and hides again, and out of joy goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant searching for fine pearls. When he finds a pearl of great price, he goes and sells all that he has and buys it.” This is the reason that I went to Uruguay! Jesus is like the treasure found in the field or a pearl of great price, He is worth everything. I came to Uruguay because Jesus is worth our praise, our time, our talents, and our lives. I wanted to share that with others and I am so glad that I had the opportunity to do so in this way; I am so thankful for these past two years! I pray that you would each experience His love in your lives and understand in a deep, profound way that He is worthy.
To all who have supported me financially or prayed for me during these two years, THANK YOU. I wish I could meet with each of you individually and tell about so many of the conversations I have had with students in my time here. So many students that we meet have never heard the Gospel and don’t know anyone who is a Christian. Some tell us they haven’t thought about God in 5 or 10 years. Many tell us they are atheists, but after talking with them for 20, 30 or sometimes 90 minutes, they have completely changed their posture and their position, and are much closer to believing in God. I wish I could tell you about the countless times we have shared the Gospel and tell you the names of all of the precious, fun, smart students I have met at the different campuses: Medicine, Chemistry, Law, Veterinary, Social Sciences, and others. I wish you could see the faces of these people and pray specific prayers over each of them as God draws them to himself in all sorts of different ways.
And I really wish I could tell you many more detailed stories, sharing in depth how God is at work in the lives of my friends here! I would love to tell you more about the joy that Mathias experienced when he shared his faith for the first time last month. I would tell you about our friend Santi who Zach randomly met on the bus one morning. He quickly became a dear friend and has a great desire to draw near to God. I would tell you about Florencia who continues to open up to me and who is seeking and asking questions about God. I would tell you about my good friend Lorena who has become my dearest friend. I would tell you about Viviana who always had a vision to combine her profession (teaching) and her faith. She found the perfect outlet to influence people and students with Cruzada! I would tell you about Vicky and how much she has grown this year, how she shares her faith and how she is now ready to teach others. I would tell you about Luis and his desire to join staff full-time here with Cruzada in Uruguay. I would tell you about Evelyn, who has become a dear friend, who now knows the Lord in a new, personal way. To you, these are just names, but to me, these are just some of the people who fill my heart and life and prayers. Because of these lives and the lives of many others, I can assure you that God is at work in Uruguay. I am so privileged to be able to share with Uruguayans my knowledge of God’s grace, and I am sure that they have influenced and taught me much more than I have taught them. Thank you for being such an important part of each of these stories.