Yesterday was one of those days for me. One of those days when I feel the contrast between myself and those who have grown up in El Salvador. My “previous life” in suburban America is worlds apart from the experiences of the people of San Salvador.
I heard a young woman share her life story. It was a story filled with pain and with loss. The pain of never having a secure family life, the pain of wanting to belong anywhere even if it meant joining a gang, and the pain of having lost almost every person close to her because of the violence that fills the streets of El Salvador.
But there is more to her story. There is hope because someone shared the truth of Jesus Christ. Someone changed her world with that message. But she still has a long road to travel.
The worlds that her and I come from may be separated by deep chasms of culture, language, and life situations but there is one constant. Jesus. I don’t understand God’s plans…how He chooses our families and our histories. But I do know that we are all on a journey and my journey has brought me to El Salvador. My journey is also drawing me nearer and nearer to the heart of God.
I’m finding that I see Him in the tears in the eyes of my friend as she shares the hope that hearing the story of Jesus brought her, and in the man who has worked his land for years and continues to work hard to serve his family, and in the missionary that comes from the U.S. for a week of their summer vacation to love people in El Salvador.
Right now I am living in a world far apart from all that I knew. It’s like living on a roller coaster : culture shock, sickness, raising finances, loss of my freedom, and I could go on. But I get to share in what God is doing. I know that there are hundreds more like my friend who need to hear about Jesus. They need to know what it means to be loved. Will I ever make a difference in El Salvador? I don’t know. But I am in this with God and that is worth it all.
Working in a cross-cultural setting, working with the poor, moving to this world has changed me. God brings us more and more into His plan when we get out of our “worlds”…our idols. The things that hold us back from pursuing God. A desire for a bigger and better house, a certain position in a group of friends, or a job that we feel is more impressive. But maybe God has somewhere for you to be…far from your world where He wants to draw you into a life lived completely for Him.