Missing Link

I know that it’s been forever since my last blog post, and I’m guessing most of you are waiting for some kind of uplifting “I live in Honduras now” post with pictures of my house, room, and lifestyle, but I really don’t feel like blogging about that. So, here’s my very short update:

My house is pretty with a hammock in the front of it, and I live with two awesome roommates who work with government orphanages and street kids. They like snacks and we like to eat snacks together sometimes.

So now that you have that, let move on to something I really want to blog about: my Chicago friends and how they relate to Honduras. Recently I’ve made some amazing friends from the Chicago suburbs. They have some of the most heart-breaking, life-changing stories I’ve ever heard. I bonded with them more than I’ve ever bonded with any of my friends. I can’t describe how lucky and grateful I am to have had them in my life.

The reason I’m mentioning my friends is because they’ve convinced me that there’s a missing link between my friends and the kids of Honduras. No, I don’t mean the ocean.

You see, my friends and their stories are like mirror images to some of the stories of the kids I’ve met in Honduras. I can’t count how many times I’ve wanted to be able to inspire these kids by relating to their stories but haven’t been able to because I can’t relate. However, my friends could do that.

My friends and these kids share an incredible bond that neither of them are even aware of.

Take my friend Marissa* for example. Marissa was sexually abused as a child and also raped. But here she stands today, overcoming that terrible time in her life and able to talk freely about it in hopes to inspire others. Now just think about how much Marissa could inspire the girls at Casitas, a public orphanage for teenage girls (most of them having been sexually abused or pregnant at some point in their life). Or how she could inspire the girls at Proniña (another home made up of sexually abused girls).

Marissa’s extreme inspiration doesn’t even stop there. Marissa also is a recovering addict. Marissa’s been addicted to a bunch of different drugs for most of High School. She’s been to rehab and relapsed. She stills struggles with her addiction today but is finding help and aspires to recover again. She dreams of going into the army one day and saving lives. Now, picture Marissa talking to the boys at Catrachos Al Cambio, a detox/rehab center in San Pedro Sula. Or, picture Marissa in San Pedro talking to the boys currently living on the streets and struggling with addiction. Just think of how much she could inspire them, how huge of a difference she could make in their lives!

Now I hope you’re starting to see what I mean about this whole “missing link” thing. If there were someway/someone to connect the two, it’d be more magical than Disney World.

Marissa isn’t just some kind of rare human being either, there were many more friends with similarly inspirational stories like her that I met back in Chicago. There was Faith*, a girl who constantly had to go looking for her father who was a suicidal alcoholic. He’d get kicked out of the places he lived in and she would find him a new home. He’d lock himself inside of his apartment and drink until he was nearly dead. Each time she would find him, forgive him, get him help, and love him again. Imagine what she could do with so many kids that share the experience of an alcoholic father. Imagine how many families she could bring back together. And alongside Faith there’s literally too many more friends to mention with inspirational stories. Listing all of them off would probably take the next three months if I didn’t sleep, eat, or do anything but blog.

So, surely now you see my point. There’s a missing link between the inspirational youth living in America and the broken youth of Honduras. Since I’m really just a newbie trying to survive in Honduras, I don’t really know how much I can do except offer to have them come visit me sometime.

But, this is what I hope to one day do with my life. I want to have my own non-for-profit that reaches out to the youth of America struggling with hurt pasts and addictions, and connect them with the youth here. It’d be like one big, happy family. They’d mutually inspire and help each other. I believe the only way to mend a broken heart is by making it whole. Two broken hearts sharing a bond has to make a whole, right? I want to be that big human band-aid that brings the two together. And no, I don’t care how cheesy that sounds.

So for now, there’s a missing link. But my hope is that there won’t be one much sooner. Watch out world, N2YHonduras is coming at you soon.

*names have been changed

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A Call to Action

Well, I’ve been deeply thinking about how to write this for too long. As many of you know, I am spending the next year of my life living in Honduras working in orphanages and partnering them with churches both in Honduras and abroad. I will be volunteering with R.O.O.M. – Reach Out Orphanage Ministries. This ministry is amazing at helping kids in need, and I can’t wait to assist them in making gigantic differences in Honduras. This is a very special opportunity that’s unveiled itself to me within the past year, and I can’t wait to serve and live in, what I think, is the greatest country in the world!

I know I could probably put together a fairly cheesy but satisfactory letter with a photo of an adorable kid in it, send it out, and achieve my funding goals. However, I want to make this as genuine as I possibly can. I know I can’t tell you that my mission is more important than others. I also can’t tell you why I believe I should be the one you choose to spend your money on, or that I’ll do exactly what you expect and want. I don’t want to make myself seem like my cause is more necessary than others.

What I want to do with this letter is state the facts, and let God take control from there. If you feel it in your heart to help me and my dream, thank you so incredibly much. If you feel otherwise, I promise not to take any offense. So, here’s the facts:

Fact 1: I believe God has called me to be a missionary in Honduras. Looking back on my life, I can see how God perfectly crafted me to be a missionary through my hardships and through the things he’s given and taken from my life. The beginning of my missionary career is pretty interesting, considering I never even wanted to go on a missions trip in the first place. Through a series of complicated events God shoved me into the mission field, and placed a love for it that can never be taken away. I know this is God’s plan for me, at least in this moment, if not for the rest of my life. These events He’s placed are much more than coincidence, they’re direct pushes and calls from God for me to help the people of Honduras. For now, stating all the things I’ve been through that have gotten me to this conclusion aren’t a possibility since it involves lives and reputations other than mine. I hope one day to share all the things that have led me to this point, however, the fact stays the same. God is calling me to be a missionary in Honduras, and I know if I turn away from it I’ll get a direct push back.

Fact 2: This is much more than a year-long commitment. To me, this is a forever commitment. Don’t worry, I’m not asking you for a forever-funding! For now, I’m only asking for the year-long funding. I need whoever funds me to know that this isn’t just happy-fun-exotic-trip time for me. This is me committing my life to missions. Even if I don’t end up living in Honduras for the rest of my life, I will forever be connected there. The relationships I’ve already made seem so strong that I can’t possibly give them up – imagine what a year will do! This is introducing my life into a new chapter of being a servant to others. So, if you’re worried about your money going to some happy-go-lucky leap year trip, you don’t have to worry. This means so much more to me than that.

Fact 3: I can 100% guarantee you that a life will be changed. Now, 99% of the guarantee will be most-likely be myself, but I promise that’s not as selfish as it sounds. As I mentioned above, this will forever change my self-concerned life into a life concerned with serving others. However, I know the work I do will make a difference, even if that difference is incredibly small. I do believe God is going to do outstanding things in the lives of others through me. It is completely possible that I could change someone’s life. Whatever God decides to do through me he will do. No matter what happens, a difference will be made.

Fact 4: If you fund me, you will keep getting “awww” photos like this:

35528_4093351347142_1979428703_n

Thank you so much for your consideration. I wouldn’t be able to do anything without contributions from others. Whether God leads your heart to aiding me or aiding another, thank you for helping everyone around the world. God bless.

You can do anything from a one-time donation to a monthly donation. You can also send it through a check in the mail if you’d like. If you would like to donate online, please click here

Here is my address for mailing:
12645 Beaver Den Trail
Homer Glen, IL
60491

How To (Not) Save A Life

This is something I’ve been struggling with quite awhile.
If I’m being honest, I don’t know if I can even deliver this quite how I want to.
But, I’m going to anyway, so proceed with caution.

Let’s begin with one word: missionary. Most people when they hear this word think Christian going around the world talking about Jesus. But, as I’ve come to know the word, I’ve seen much more to it than just that meaning. When I hear that word I think of plenty of different people, all with different lifestyles and purposes in life. When I think of missionary I don’t enclose the word to just one religion or one gender or one specific characteristic. The only thing I think I could solo out is that they live their lives serving others – the true missionaries at least.

When I think missionaries my mind immediately goes to Honduras (shocker, I know) and my friends who live/work there. Friends like Jenny, Jilli, and Lauren. They’re hilarious, extremely fun to be around, and have amazing hearts. They’re all different, but still love and adore the same exact children. But they don’t go around preaching the word of God. I’m sure they talk about their relationship with God to the kids they deeply know and care about, but their primary focus is not preaching and moving on to the next group.

Instead, they develop relationships. They make connections, they restore trust within children, make them feel the love they deserve, mend the broken-hearted, take care of street kids and show them their worth, and so much more. They care so much about the kids, and the kids in return care so much about them. They develop a deep personal relationship with each of the kids that I hope and pray I can one day have with the kids as well.

But just because they don’t go around proclaiming the gospels doesn’t mean they aren’t missionaries. They do much more than the people who go around proclaiming the gospels could ever do. Just talking about God and leaving is never going to do anything. Maybe it could do something, but chances are it’s not going to affect anyone much.

Think about it – some stranger comes up to you who’s much richer and much better off then you. They live in a giant house and have everything they need, while you barely feed yourself on a day-to-day basis. They have a near perfect family, while yours is torn apart. Everything about them seems perfect, while everything about you feels broken. They come for a week and just talk about Jesus and his love for you, and then leave. No relationships made. You’d really listen to them and change your life around?

In my own belief (which could be wrong) I think that to be a missionary means changing the lives of people. You don’t need to talk about God, you don’t even need to be a Christian. You just have to be willing to make a difference in the lives of others. I get that, for a lot of people, this probably is contradictory to their beliefs, but it’s only true way to change or mend anybody!

In my home community one of the most frustrating things I face when I return from a trip is that after people will ask me what I did and after I list off my gigantic list of activities and with which cute children I did them with, they’ll proceed to ask if I talked about Jesus. In some cases they’ll just begin with the “how was talking about Jesus?”. To be honest, I don’t really mention Christ too much. I pray in front of the kids, I’ll tell them that God loves them and I love them on a bad day, and other little things, but I’ve never preached to anyone. But I still consider myself a part-time (because I have school and can’t be in Honduras all the time) missionary. I don’t have near enough of a deep relationship with these kids to tell them about my faith and talk about theirs. If I’m going to talk about God, I’m going to do it correctly, like I would with any of my close friends back home. I’m not going to just lay it all on someone who barely knows me. When I talk to the kids about my relationship with Him, I want it to have meaning.

So I’m sorry if I just destroyed everything you’ve held about thoughts on missionaries, but this is my belief. I hope and pray that no one is offended by this. I also hope and pray that someone out there will expand their mind on who they choose to call a missionary. I hope that this somehow brings light to what a missionary really is, and that maybe it would be more appealing to others.

Missionary
Def: Someone who takes action to change and mend the lives of the broken
Ex: Anyone. Any religion. Any gender. Anywhere. Anytime.

Jenny’s blog:
http://tchp.wordpress.com

Jilli’s blog:
http://sinquesosinmantequilla.tumblr.com

Lauren’s blog:
http://laurenv47.wordpress.com

The Shy One

There’s a boy who I love very much at Proniño. Well, there’s a lot of boys I love very much at Proniño. Actually, I love all the boys very much at Proniño. But today I’m talking about Javier in specific.

javier2 (Javier and my travel buddy Sarah)

Javier is not someone I expected to find myself loving. Not because of any bad reason, he was nice and adorable, but he wasn’t very approachable. At Proniño things kind of go like this:

1. Walk four steps
2. Get hugged by a boy
3. Walk another four steps
4. Get hugged by a different boy
5. Repeat steps 1-4

pronino

The picture on the left is, as my friend Jilli says, the epitome of Pronino. So pretty much you knew everybody you hugged and love them to death because their just so squishy or some other adorable reason. There are a few boys at the center that aren’t so “I’m going to maul you every four steps you take”. These boys tend to blend into the background. To those of us that visit once or twice, these boys aren’t memorable and even seem like they could be new to the center or something. They don’t get that much attention.

For me, Javier was one of those boys. I never saw him my first trip down there and didn’t know him, care about him, or remember him. I probably wouldn’t have gotten to know him for a very long time if it wasn’t for a super awesome opportunity I got to have.

When I was at Proniño in October I volunteered to “escort/watch over/make sure no one runs away” the kids going to a painting/music class at the library. Peña was one of those kids so of course he dragged me with him onto the truck and I went along. Of course me in my 120 lb has-absolutely-no-muscle-or-agility-and-is-super-out-of-shape glory thought, “I’m going to be totally screwed if one of them tries to run away.” So I immediately scanned the truck for questionnables. Misael: hilarious, my buddy, older and matured, he’ll be fine. Mario: quiet, respectful, extremely nice (and later found out he was quite the artist!), not a problem. I did this with every kid until I stopped on Javier.

Then I was like, who the heck is this kid? He’s obviously not new, he’s from Amor y Paz (a house for the older, matured but still younger kids) so he had to have been there before, but I hadn’t remembered him at all. So I watched him like a hawk. Of course he thought my anxiety was hysterical so at the library he proceeded to jump out a window (it wasn’t very high) and pretend to walk away.

I started sweating buckets and kept saying “Haha, nice joke Javier, come back in, please!!” I was on the window sill nearly about to jump out myself when he said, “Kaylie it’s a joke” and came back in. Yeah, great joke Jav. The rest of the time at the library we bonded through great practical jokes of running away. More like Javier and the others pretending to run away while I lost my mind but at the same time enjoyed hanging out with them.

From then on he became one of those kids that hugged me every four steps. It wasn’t until my recent trip there that I saw the old Javier again, the one I couldn’t remember. When I arrived I was jumped on, hugged, and tugged at by pretty much every boy there. I saw Javier out of the corner of my eye, just going about his business and not really putting in an effort to jump on me or anything.

Naturally I was immediately distracted by the 10 other boys jumping on my back and tugging at my arms that I let it go. I felt like Javier didn’t know whether or not to hug me, whether or not he was good enough to be like those other kids to me. He needed reassurance that I wanted to attack him with hugs as much as he wanted to attack me with hugs. Later on that day I realized that my guess was right. As soon as I called out “Javier!” to him his face lit up, his smile got huge, and we ran to each other and hugged. All he needed was that one little word of reassurance to be able to love me just as much as last time and be loved by me in return.

The rest of my week pretty much was the same encounter, except with a twist. He’ll always pretend he hates me and will call me “mala” which means bad, and then make me chase him down and tickle him until he’s hugging me back and is saying its just joke. Every day our taxi came he’d stand by the gates squinting and shouting,  “KAYLIE!” and wait until I replied “JAVIER!”. As soon as he heard my reply his face would just light up into this amazing smile. Every time I saw that crazy beautiful smile I’d think to myself, this kid is the best. You never know how great someone is until you give them a chance. Leaving my comfort zone when it comes to the boys I know will immediately love me was probably the best choice I’ve ever made.

Javier even managed to get me into the super cool tweenager-early teens group at Pronino. Just look at them, they radiate with coolness!

javier4Brother sandwiched with Jilli Schulz, Javier, and believe it or not, Javier’s older brother Eduardo

raul1Raul, best smile ever award winner
ever1Ever, one of the most genuine and intelligent kids I’ve ever met (See what I did there?)

gerrardoGerardo, so ticklish that all you need to know is poke him and he’ll burst into laughter.
Also winner of hardest name to pronounce/spell.

javier3Oh by the way, Javier’s 9 months pregnant.
Seriously, who could blame me for wanting to spend every minute of my time with this kid?

Valley of the Shadow of Death

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me. Your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”
– Psalm 23:4

Today my mom read the newspapers travel section. What do you know, a passage about Honduras is in it. Honduras has now officially been ranked the murder country of the world, and San Pedro, the city I will most-likely be living in next year, was voted the city with the most violence and murders in the entire world.

As you can imagine, she wasn’t too happy. Even as I kept explaining the violence and murders was due to gang violence, her mind kept scrambling. She came up with different solutions like: I should go with you, you can skip your next trip, you can find another country, etc. She didn’t seem to realize this really isn’t new news to me.

Ok, so maybe going to the murder country capitol of the world and staying in the most murderous city in the world with only yourself (17 years old) and a friend (19 years old) may not seem like a super great idea, but I promise you it is. We’re extremely safe, and on top of that, when people hear those stats they tend to not consider the vital side of it.

Sure, it is extremely dangerous for us. But did you think of the people behind the murders? Gang members. And do you know who heavily populate those gangs? Boys living on the streets.

Let me put faces to these “dangerous heartless gang members” for you.

It could’ve been Manuel and Maycol

manuelymaycol

Or Jairo

jairo

Or Cristian, Eduardo, and Enrique

olderboys

Let me take a guess and assume these were not the exact pictures you had in mind. You probably were think more of a scar-faced never-smiled-in-his-life muscular bad boy holding knives in his hands. This must’ve change your view around a bit. The thing is, these are the kids ending up in gangs. The ones living on the streets, abused and abandoned by their families. The ones that are thrust into the the world on their own, damaged, without given any kind of chance to get out of it. These are the deadly gang members causing the murder rate to go up higher, and they’re also the ones being murdered. You see, the news of these facts doesn’t detour me at all. If anything, its made me even more determined.

Let me put Psalm 23:4 in my own words. Even though I walk through the country of death, I fear nothing. I won’t fear anything. Because God is with me. Even if I am hurt, or put in a life-threatening situation, I fear nothing. I would rather have my life taken from me young while saving the lives of those innocent kids than taken from me when I’m old and having made no contribution to anyone’s life.

Crazy enough, my pastor talked about this subject today. I had begun blogging this before I went to church. Somehow, I already a feeling he was going to talk about it, and he did. He talked about the young and small David, conquering the big and mighty Goliath. On my ride home I heard the radio talk about the same exact verse.

God’s slamming signs in front of my face all at once. I really must’ve missed a lot for him to show them so prominently. My advice to those of you out there that are young and waiting for some kind of direction in your life: just you wait. Some day he’s going to slap you in the face with more signs then you can handle.

My advice to those of you worried about a current situation, for example, living in the murder capitol of the world: keep pushing onward. Even though you walk through the valley of the shadow of death, you will fear no evil. God is with you.

Pray for the missionaries around the world today. Pray for the kids living in the valley of the shadow of death on a daily basis. Pray for strength. Pray for the chance to make a difference, no matter how dangerous or difficult it may be. Because even though there is a valley of the shadow of death, with God, you will fear no evil.

The Peña Effect

Well, I’ve finally decided to get to the truly good stuff – the kids I’ve met. I’m specifically going to focus on those I’ve bonded with and gotten to know. This next series of posts is supposed to go along with a fundraiser going on at the moment, raising money for the fantastic boys of Proniño.

To find that fundraiser, please go here: http://tchp.wordpress.com/

To tell you simply, the fundraiser is selling ornaments to raise a whole whopping $24,000 to send all the boys to school and pay for all of the supplies. In that blog, she not only explains the fundraiser but also is going to, over time, speak about the boys you’re donating too. I also would like to help as much as possible. So let’s get started.

Today, I’m talking about the most giving, kind kid I’ve ever met.

His name is Carlos Peña.

Yes, yes he is holding a chicken. Believe it or not, that’s the Proniño pet. But that’s another story. Carlos was one of the first boys I met at Proniño. He had a glittery belt on and his hair was spiked up with about 10 lbs of gel. He just kind of watched from afar at first, and then his friend, Misael, kindly pushed him towards me and yelled “Hey Gringa! Peña thinks you’re cute!” Carlos smiled and blushed. It was adorable. I mean, adorable, but not in a romantic way. Let’s get that down right now. I may be seventeen but I, in no way, would start a romance with any of these boys. Now that we have that down, back to the story.

I laughed non-chalantly and asked him his name, he said Carlos. I then proceeded to play random games with him since I had no other ways of communcation (disclaimer: I took four years of French, and no Spanish. My Spanish consisted of ‘Hola’, ‘Como Estas’, and ‘Me llamo es’; so it was a little difficult trying to find some way to translate or understand)

We played, and I played with others, and he’d hug me every chance he got and tell me he was glad I was here and that he knew we’d be great friends. When we had to leave, he got pretty sad. “You’re coming back, right?” Yes. But not for another week.

So I worked the next week at Nueva Esperanza and talked to Jenny about sponsoring kids. At that moment I was so entirely in love with both Carlos and another boy, Gerson (who I will talk about later). An idea of sponsorship started forming in my mind.

Soon enough, the week was over, and we proceeded to head back to Proniño. Little did I know what I was in store for. I was shocked to find that, not only did nearly all of them remember us even though we had only spent a few hours with them, but they also were counting down the days until they could see us. We got pounced with hugs. I could see Carlos out of the corner of my eye and he came, shy as ever, and gave me a huge hug telling me he was glad I was finally back.

And then, he pulled a bracelet out of my pocket, and put it on my wrist. It was blue, with X and O repeated on it. The pattern made me laugh, but the fact that he made me a bracelet was so amazing. I said thank you at least a million times, and went on with my day, spending time with all of them – including Carlos.

By the middle of the week I knew I was being called to sponsor Carlos and Gerson. I called my mom up for the first time in three weeks. She was happy to hear me, not so happy to hear the only reason I was calling was to mooch off some money from her. However, she loved the fact that I wanted to sponsor these two wonderful boys. So we did.

The next day I made Carlos and Gerson cards that said, “Soy tu Madrina” (English: I am your godmother/sponsor). Carlos lit up. He hugged me so tight I thought I’d never breathe again. Gerson was happy at first, but then angry because he didn’t want to share his Madrina with Carlos. It was extremely hard to see Gerson this way and it made me pretty upset.

But wouldn’t you know it, Carlos would think of some wonderful solution. He wrote me a letter saying that he was going to be like a big brother to Gerson and was so glad that I had provided him a family. He said that no matter what he’d take care of Gerson and make sure he was always safe. It was the sweetest thing I’ve ever witnessed. Soon enough, through Carlos and myself, Gerson became a happily sponsored child.

But the kindness didn’t stop there. Everyday Carlos gave me a compliment. He’d say I was beautiful, or that he liked my shirt, or that he was just glad I was there. His smile is to die for. I swear you’ve never seen anything more sincere and charming. He’d hug gently and calmly and let every kid get their turn, putting everyone first before himself.He’d make me letters that had to have taken him hours. Whenever I picked up a shovel to work, he’d quickly take it from me and tell me he could do it and didn’t want me to get tired. He was kinder to me in that week then any boy has been to me in my life.

Every time I’ve come back I’ve witnessed that same crazy generosity and kindness. He’ll write me letters telling me how much he loves the family me, him, and Gerson have become. He made many more bracelets. He made me pictures. He gave me a necklace. He even made an intensely detailed picture and put it in a picture frame for me. He wrote letters to my parents and sisters thanking them and telling them how much he loves them even though he’s never even met them. I truly have never met anyone like Carlos. He’s a gift from God. He gives, and gives, and gives, and gives. And then on top of that, he’s so kind and loving.

 

I even got to meet his mom over the phone. One day he borrowed a phone from Lauren, one of the volunteers, and called up his mom. I had just sat down next to him trying to get a rest from the intense soccer game I had just played  (note: it was against 9-11 year olds, and I got smoked). He turned to me and said, “Keili, mi madre!” and handed me the phone. Knowing not even enough Spanish to pass the first week of a Spanish 1 class, I began to blabber in the smallest amount of Spanish I knew. Hi, my name’s Kaylie. I’m his Madrina. I’m proud of him and love him. He’s a nice boy. And then repeated those phrases every time she seemed to make some kind of a sentence over the staticy end. Carlos could see my struggle and took back the phone and said that his mom was so happy that I was sponsoring him and that she said that I would always be a part of her family and she loves me. He then went back to his conversation with her, telling her about the new shoes I had given him earlier this week.

That, was incredible.

Even just seeing his face light up when he talked to his mom was incredible. Who knows how long it’s been since he’s seen her. From what he’s told me, Carlos has spent a lot of time at Nueva Esperanza (an orphanage in San Pedro), so I’m pretty sure he’s spent most of his life in and out of centers, sin familia. Carlos told me when I gave him the shoes that they were so beautiful that he’d only wear them when he got to see his family. Like any other female, I died inside. This kid = AMAZING.

And even that whole long thing can’t even begin to put words to how great this kid is. He’s just one of the kids you can help get an education and live a great life through your donations. Please, please, please donate. For Carlos, and for the rest of the outstanding Proniño boys.

 

The Truth in the Cliche

“So, Kaylie, where are you going to college?”

Well you see…

The thing is…

I’m not.

Immediately, faces change. No college? A smart, average American isn’t going to college?

Nope.

Then what are you going to do?

I’m going to live in Honduras.

Aren’t you a little too young?

—————————————————————————————————————————–

Usually, when I have this conversation this reaction usually comes from adults. However, I’ve also gotten a few reactions like this from fellow young people. And I get why I get the reaction. I’m only 17, I’m on the honor roll, and I could probably get into a decently nice college. But yet, college might not be in the master plan of my life. Maybe in a year or two or a few, but God isn’t showing college on my radar right now. For some, this majorly freaks them out. For those people, there’s one thing you need to understand:

I know where I’m supposed to be.
I know where I’ve been called.
And it’s not here.
And it’s not college.

I think there’s something wrong with society. With college. Everyone is so obsessed with the best school, the best education, the best job, that they forget their calling. Everyone seems to have the same idea, and the same plan.

  1. Go to school
  2. Get a job
  3. Start a family
  4. Missions

But you want to know a secret? Once you get in school, you won’t drop out. Once you get a safe job, you won’t quit and you won’t get large amounts of time off. And finally, once you start a family, there is little to no chance of leaving. Missions won’t come afterwards.

What people don’t seem to realize is that being young and being heavily involved in missions isn’t:

  1. Bad
  2. Dangerous
  3. Irrational
  4. Ignorant

Being young is the exact opposite, actually. Being young is perfect for missions. When you’re young, you aren’t tied down. You have ten times the opportunities of any older person. And generally, the younger you are, the more passionate you are. Our generation needs to work on not focusing on the better school, the better job, the expanding family; but focus on the calling. If God has called you to go to the great school, get the great job, and start the fam, then go ahead! Do it! But if you feel the call for something else, but also feel the pressure of schooling, let it go. Do your calling first. Our society’s priorities need to change.

I was one that believed that “too young” was a thing. I didn’t even want to go on my first missions’ trip. In fact, I had to be pressured into it. Even after a few missions trips, when I had developed a deep love and passion for missions in Honduras, I still felt I was “too young” and that I needed to do all these other things before I could really be a missionary. But then I had this exact conversation – with the exact same argument – with my friend, and leader at the time, Jenny. She pretty much convinced me not only that I could go live in Honduras next year, but that I should.

This may seem all too cliche, like some kind of quote you’d find on some teenager girl’s profile picture description, but it’s the plain, bare, truth.

You Are Never Too Young.

In fact, “Young” is the perfect age.

Pronino