At the beginning of my fall semester of graduate school, I knew I was interested in completing my field placement internationally. I felt like it was something that God had placed on my heart for a while, and the opportunity presented itself as well with my university. However, COVID made the decision-making and planning process quite lengthy.
In a non-COVID world, we would have gotten the final decision about the placement around October and prepared everything right then and there. With the uncertainty of COVID and how it is affecting every country differently, I didn’t get the final approval to go until the middle of December. And even then, I still didn’t believe it was going to happen. I remember thinking “It’s not going to be a real thing until we land and get to our house in Ghana.”
Even though I still had that kind of feeling, I could see the affirmation and the Lord’s fulfillment in the process. I spent my fall semester living in Tuscaloosa, and with COVID, I did not really get out much. I got very comfortable with living on my own and being socially distant from others. However, there were many times where I wanted to be surrounded by a community in person, instead of online.
During the semester, I saw how God was preparing me for this internship and also just growing me for future purposes to come. Every obstacle that was thrown at me with preparing for this trip, God said, “I am greater than those small worries”. He fulfilled everything that needed to be done for me to go.
Throughout my time here so far, I have seen the evidence of God around me. Not only has God continuously protected me and guided me through this journey, but He has placed kind-hearted people around me to navigate my way as well. In most of the cars and vans I have been in, Ghanaians have Christian worship music or a sermon playing. I have also had some conversations about the gospel with others so far.
In life, I think we tend to question God’s power and comfort. If we aren’t seeing any answers or clarity, we doubt that God is with us. However, His Spirit is always with us. You can’t always see it, but we have a promise that it lives in us as Christians.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. – Proverbs 3:5-6
Proverbs 3:5-6 has always meant a lot to me. I haven’t always been able to see the path that God wanted me to take in life. I also haven’t always fully trusted Him when taking those steps on the path. Sometimes, I even went with my own path, but I have tried to learn over the years how to just follow and trust the steps that are placed before me.
I used to have this mindset that when I went to a different country to work, I had to do all these great things to be useful. I thought I had to fix peoples’ issues and give back to them in a major way. But, I think being a servant can also mean to just be a light to others in the ordinary. Like just having a conversation with someone and learning about their lifestyle. Or learning what your similarities and differences are.
I know for me, I put a lot of pressure on myself when it comes to serving. I picture my impact in a very different way than the Lord does. However, I think the things that look little to us are still very significant to God. He doesn’t care so much about what kind of work you are doing, just your willingness to actually do it when He asks and provides for you. That goes for life in Ghana, life in the United States, and life anywhere else on this earth.
I think God takes us on many different journeys in life, to some unfamiliar areas physically and mentally. No matter where He has you placed physically, it is neither lesser nor greater than the person next to you. I used to think differently about that, but I am learning that we all have different journeys, purposes, and points in our lives. And no matter what those different moments look like to a societal standard, doing the work, putting the effort in, and having the willingness to keep going every day is significant and purposeful. He cares about your heart, not your paycheck, your rating, or your accomplishments.
Focus your attention more on the way you love than on your accomplishments in life. We love because He first loved us. Without love, life would look very different. We also wouldn’t have the gift of eternal life offered to us. Let love lead you and guide you as you take the steps that God has placed before you.