My first book comes out tomorrow! After 2 years of writing and almost 15 years since I was first introduced to teaching overseas. Here's an excerpt from the beginning of the book:
During my junior and senior year, I met many people who gave presentations about the country where I was applying to teach, had just returned from visiting, or were also in the process of applying to be teachers with Teach the World. I knew there was a reason I was crossing paths with these people, and I knew in my heart that God was continuing to call me to go. I looked around for other jobs that were closer or looked more appealing, but each time I felt guilty. God seemed to be saying, “You’re wasting your time. I’ve shown you what to do.”
All right, I told him. I'll go.
But I was still afraid. I didn’t want to go live somewhere where I wouldn’t know anyone. Despite being surrounded by people almost 24 hours a day during English camp, I didn’t develop close friendships among the other teachers. That may have been because we were all so busy and didn’t have much time to reflect on our experiences with each other.
I was also nervous about teaching at a university. I had grown to enjoy teaching at the English camp, but all my lessons had been planned for me. I didn’t have any experience writing my own curriculum or planning lessons for a whole semester.
Even though the English camp had gone so well and I had loved teaching, I didn't think I'd be a good teacher in a university. I feared that as an introvert I would be overwhelmed because I would have so many students. I remembered how tired I had been after teaching just fifteen students. I’ve always been quiet, shy, and more comfortable hanging out in the back of the room than taking charge in the front. I worried that the older university students I’d be teaching wouldn’t like me. I wondered why God would choose me and not a more outgoing, natural leader, especially if I was expected to disciple students and lead Bible studies. I hoped and prayed that God really knew what he was doing by calling me to go.
In the midst of my certainty that God had called me, others were expressing doubt:
"Are you certain you're hearing from God?"
"This doesn't sound like the kind of thing God would ask you to do."
"Have you really prayed about this?"
"It seems like you're choosing the easy option for a career by working with an organization you’ve worked with before.”
“Do you really have to go so far away?”
I was troubled by the skepticism I was receiving from my family and friends. They warned me that accepting a job overseas was a drastic move after college and teaching probably wasn’t a good fit for me because I was a quiet introvert. I worried that I was making a selfish decision by choosing to ignore their advice. I didn't want to live so far away either, but more than anything I wanted to be obedient to God.
I have always hated disappointing people. I worried that I was disappointing my friends and especially my family by not choosing a traditional job closer to home. But if God called me to go overseas, I would rather disappoint my friends and family than disappoint God.
I told God, I'm making a big sacrifice here. Being a teacher certainly isn't my first career choice. I really hope you come through for me and this will be a surprisingly wonderful experience.
The Reluctant Missionary: A Journey From Failure to Faith is available to order on Amazon.