September 15, 2017 marked a whole year since I began this crazy, whirlwind journey of becoming a missionary. I moved to Louisiana for a month and a half, spent three weeks in Mexico, went back to Louisiana for another couple weeks, went home for a month, went back to Louisiana for about three weeks, moved to Trujillo, Peru for a month, then Pucacaca for three months, back to Louisiana for two weeks, home for a week, Louisiana for a little over a month, Mexico for a month, back home for a few days, and finally back to Louisiana. And 2017 isn’t even over yet!
In this short space, I’d like to share a little bit about how my many travels and adventures have led to many a lesson learned. I’ll admit I definitely struggle with want of control. When I was in college, I happily planned every single class I would have to take for every single semester – each time I changed my major. I think this has been one of my biggest lessons this year, this giving up of control. I would like to think that I joyfully gave way to the Lord, but it was more like I went kicking and screaming the whole way.
When I first went through my formation last year, we were all told that this was going to be the hardest year of our lives. I can’t quite agree or disagree; it’s been so radically different than anything else I’ve ever experienced, I have nothing to compare it to. As for the aspect of control, I didn’t really have any. I had no control over where I lived, where I slept, or where my money came from. But it hasn’t just been lack of control. I listed out all my travels; never in my life have I traveled this much. There hasn’t been any consistency. I have doubts and temptations, struggles and conflicts.
Missions is not pretty. It isn’t beautiful. It’s getting parasites. It’s seeing abuse and sin. It’s running out of clean water to drink. It’s homesickness, physical sickness, loneliness, broken hearts, an ocean of tears, spiritual stretching, judgments, opinions made known, feeling inadequate, feeling like you’re losing yourself, and feeling like giving up – on top of everything else that already makes life hard. Missions is hard. And there’s not even a “but” coming. In the year of 2017, I’ve seen my family a total of around 24 days. That’s hard.
I am changed. There is something different about me. And I’m okay with that. I know by accepting His call to become a missionary, I gave the Lord permission to push and pull and stretch me beyond my deepest imaginings, and there’s no way I could escape from that unscathed. I had to allow myself to recognize my faults, to see where I lacked knowledge and wisdom in things I had never dealt with.
And it hurts. It’s hard. And I accept that, because I know where it leads: a better relationship with Jesus, and a changed me.
Sophia GonzalezMission Page: sophiagonzalez.familymissionscompanty.com
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