I would like to dedicate this entry to my friend Lisa Wilkison, who is very interested in hearing the "scoop" of how I finally decided to join ISI (for new comers, that's International Students Inc.).
If there is one thing in my life that I should have learned by now, its would be to" never say never". In high school I vehemently declared I would NEVER like math or science... I am a Dietitian and love science and get along great with algebra. After college I had a frustrating experience in a country called Ukraine, I said I would NEVER go back. Where did I go this summer again? oh, yeah... Ukraine. Just in the past year, my dad mentioned the possibility of me going on staff with ISI, to which I was set against and even declared I was not interested. I was going "overseas". I had big plans and aspirations to save the nutritionally underprivileged and to share the good news with them while I'm helping them nutritionally. I wanted the fun and adventure of immersing myself into another culture, learning another language, and adopting the native customs. So my plans were made... and I followed them.
I got a part time job so I would have some income and something to do while I was looking for ... well, something to do... for a long time, full time, for Jesus. I talked with several missions agencies, each one promising from the start, but lacking key ingredients for "Bethany's Perfect Job Mix". I wanted a team, a personal connection with the organization, and couldn't decide where to go; I love the world. I was in desperate need of international culture (i live in a corn field in Indiana). I started volunteering teaching English to mostly spouses of international students. I loved it. I also signed up to be a friend to an international student from Thailand. Through her I have met other students. I was able to use my nutrition education to help a woman who just had a baby. I enjoyed all of this, but still wasn't getting it. I was getting agitated. Why wasn't God moving? Let's back up a bit...
Back in Ukraine this past Summer, God was trying to teach me something. It was only one simple verse, Psalm 46:10 "Cease your striving and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the heavens, I will be exalted in all the earth". I have a hard time being still. But the most important part of that verse, was that God does not need me! He does fine without me actually. God gave me a picture in my head of my parents farm as that verse played over and over in my head. I knew He wanted me at home for a while, but I didn't realize how hard it was going to be to "let God be God". I never let Him choose His perfect plan. I had my plans and they must be God's because why else would God give me these desires if not to fulfill them? hmm... (if this thought progression sounds familiar, it's ok.. your not weird). Lets go back to the main story line.
So, here I was, my independent nature flaring up in anger at my poor family. I finally decided, in October, to do something different and go to an ISI retreat in Ashville, N.C. with my Dad. I wanted to talk to those on staff to get a better idea how they made their decision regarding ministry. I still was not immensely fond of the idea of staying in the country. While at the retreat I met some great people who had a lot of great thoughts and ideas for me... all of which included recruiting me to ISI. Typical! Now what? In my personal prayers God revealed to me my fear of failure. My fear that He would not use me unless I used my degree in ministry and that right away. A fear that I would be wasting my degree and my 5 lovely years in school. He told me I was believing lies. I began the slow process of thinking about thinking about joining ISI. A light began to glimmer and grow steadily brighter. I would be getting paid to hang out with internationals from everywhere around the world, tell them about Jesus, lead Bible studies, teach them how to be healthy in America, teach them about American culture, teach ESL, give them rides, eat their yummy food, help them with any kind of acclamation to life here, .... sounds Amazing! I don't have to pick one area of the world. God will pick lots of countries for me. It really seemed too easy. I started second guessing. I suppose I still will at times. I am in the application process and covet your prayers!
oh, and one more thing. Part of the Campus Staff Job is visiting former students who have gone back to their country. God is Good. Need I say more? (Lisa, I hope this is enough detail for you).