Committing to Full-Time Ministry with Students International

Over the past three years, Guatemala has slowly been stealing my heart. I had no idea the first time I went down for a two-week missions trip in 2008 that it would all lead to this. I participated in Students International as a student through Greenville College with a sociology class. My experience there impacted me so much that I really wanted to go back. I didn’t know what I was hoping to get out of this place exactly, but I knew how much I had been changed in just two weeks and I wanted to continue to explore this life changing environment. The relationships that I formed with the people in Magdalena are what have kept me coming back every time. They are so genuine and challenging to me to examine my life with a new perspective. I have been taught so much by this new culture that I wish everyone could experience. I returned to Guatemala for an internship as summer staff with Students International the same year. And at the end of each following school year as I was considering how I wanted to spend my summer, nothing seemed to be as important in the grand scheme of things as the work that was being done in Guatemala. Any internship or summer job that I looked into just seemed like a waste of time compared to that first summer I had in Guatemala. So I returned to Guatemala for a total of three summers as summer staff.

Ministry with Students International

It is still unclear what exactly I will be doing while working with Students International in Guatemala. There are many exciting possibilities with which I have the opportunity to get involved. My experiences as summer staff in both the art school and the health clinic have opened me up to and gotten me excited about different occupational ministries. My experience in other ministry sites has exposed me to many different areas of need in the community and I can see great opportunities for development and empowerment. My interests include working with the art school more as a full time staff member to encourage the growth of this ministry and development of the kids. The art school is all some of these kids have and it’s their only hope because they can no longer afford public school. I am also very passionate about health education in the community. The running water in Magdalena is not potable, but many people drink it anyway and constantly live with parasites in their gut. Illness could be easily avoided if they better understood some easy personal hygiene tips. And proper nutrition is not something that some families can afford, but I also see great opportunity for growth in this area as well. Another ministry need that I would love to get involved in is the adult literacy class. I can not imagine being an adult and not knowing how to read or write. It is such an empowering thing to be offered basic education that was never available before. These are smart, hard-working people who have just not been given the opportunities they deserve. My ministry with Students International would of course also include the outreaches with students from the U.S. I am very passionate about working with SI because of their dual ministry focus on not only the marginalized in Guatemala, but also the privileged students who come to interact with them. Students’ lives are impacted forever by their experiences with SI to make a difference in the world. I am excited to continue working with students and helping them as they make the same life-changing discoveries that I made on my first trip to Guatemala. If you would like more information on the organization of Students International, you can check out their website: http://www.stint.com

My original post-college plan for my life was to join the Peace Corps. However, after I had made it to the final step in the extensive application process, I was rejected because they did not think that I was medically qualified to work in the field because of my brain tumor. Though I have been living with my tumor for over half my life, it is still seen as a liability in a demanding environment. God is teaching me to let go of my control for what I think my life should be and let Him shape it into something greater that I could have never imagined. When I look back at the plans that I had for my life when I was a freshman in college and compare it to where God has brought me today, I know that God has way bigger plans for me. I originally was drawn to the Peace Corps because I would receive a monthly living stipend. I would not have to raise my own funds. The fundraising was the major deterrent for me to pursue a long term commitment with Students International in the first place. I felt that, having received a college degree, I should be able to support myself. But this is another area that God has been working on my heart; I have been brought to the point of surrendering my control in the area of finances as well. I need to trust that God will provide for me in every way and that He is more than capable of carrying me through a shaky economy as a missionary. Because Students International is an independent, nondenominational organization, I am responsible for raising 100% of my financial support for the time I am in Guatemala. My personal fundraising goal is $1500 a month to cover the costs of rent, utilities, food, insurance, social security, etc. Once I get settled in Guatemala I will see how much I am able to cut back on my budget in order to be a good steward of my blessings.

If you are interested in continuing to receive my newsletters or in supporting me financially, please see the menu options for more information. I humbly and gratefully accept any kind of support you may be willing to offer. I really appreciate all the support everyone has given me over the past couple of years. Sometimes it is difficult to serve God as a “sender,” but throwing our hand in to support others who have chosen a radical life of service makes us world-changers in our own respect. Your role is just as important as mine, and I appreciate your desire to partner with me through this.

I am scared to death to take this leap of faith, but I know that God has never left me hanging before and I am blessed to have friends and family who love and support me. Thank you for giving me the courage to take this next big step!

Britney

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Kara
    Oct 16, 2010 @ 20:52:51

    Britney,
    Your passion is so inspiring! I am praying for you so much! I cannot wait to see what kind of work he has for you to do there. He loves you so much and I know God is ready to use you! I am thankful you are so willing! I will for sure 100% support you in prayer and more if I can! Love ya girl! Bendiciones a ti! 🙂

    Reply

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