When asked to write about the top things I learned through my Project Go experience, I immediately agreed. Why? Because I could write about Project Go for hours!
As I sat down to write, however, I didn’t know where to start. How could I summarize a life-changing month in a single article? Which amazing stories should I choose to tell? Out of the hundreds of lessons I learned, which would communicate exactly how wonderful my experience in Peru was?
I believe Project Go was the best decision of my life. Here’s why:
1. Serving others is serving Christ. Project Go was a whirlwind of activity. My team and I were very busy planning Vacation Bible School and painting projects, not to mention adapting to living in a foreign city. When I led recreation activities with the kids, sometimes I concentrated so much on the logistics I forgot to take joy in simply being there.
I believe Christians can become so focused on the act of serving others that we lose sight of why we are there. Jesus paid for my sins with his life. It was important for me to learn that I should serve others with the same love that Jesus shows me.
2. God knows your “unknowns.” I can be a worrier, so the trip’s preparation and activities were a source of anxiety at times. I had a lot of unknowns: Where would we buy food? What activities would we do the first day? How do I say, “Color the pictures with crayons” in Spanish?
The Lord knew my unknowns even before I applied to Project Go, and he wasn’t concerned. I like to think he was smiling and rejoicing in the plans he had for me. Nothing is too big for God, but I also learned that nothing is too small for God, either. He cared about my team’s work in Peru, and he was excited to show us all of our unknowns.
3. God has placed you where you are for a reason. The hardest part of my Project Go experience wasn’t planning VBS, being away from my family or even struggling to communicate in Spanish. The most daunting thing for me was coming home. My team could tell I wanted to stay because I cried at every single goodbye during the days preceding our departure. They also struggled with leaving, and we discussed canceling our plane tickets and staying for “just a few more weeks.”
Giugli, our Buckner Peru intern leader, had to have a difficult discussion with us. She told us that although we wanted to stay in Peru, our lives were in the United States right now. Giuli shared that the Lord wanted us to use the lessons we learned in Peru to glorify him and serve his people back home. Although that conversation was so hard to hear (and made me cry), it was one of the biggest takeaways from my trip.
God has amazing plans for you where you are. Even if you think something like Project Go is impossible or intimidating, the Lord has control. I would encourage everyone to step into their unknowns because allowing the Lord to use you is a beautiful, heavenly thing.
Maggie Wetzel is a student at DePauw University and served in Peru through Project Go, a one- to two-month missions experience for college students and young adults. Click here to learn more.