Student Missions Year
Eli is a junior biology major who traded his classes and textbooks for the mission field this year.
Tell us; where you are serving, and in what capacity?
I am serving in Pucallpa, one of the largest cities in the rainforest of Peru. I volunteer for an organization called Amor Projects, which exists to serve others through medical work and evangelism. I help in many different facets, but my main priorities are aiding in the provision of medical care and teaching people about Jesus.
Why did you decide to spend a year as a student missionary?
I believe that service is the pinnacle of the Christian experience. It allows you to teach others about your faith while at the same time developing it. The Bible verse James 1:27 really told me that God desired for me to do it. It reads, “Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.” Half of the equation for true religion is caring for others. That is why I am serving.
How did you end up at this project? Did you choose or were you assigned?
I chose Amor Projects for these three reasons: I felt God calling me there, I wanted to be able to do medical work, and I wanted to learn Spanish.
What has been your greatest challenge?
My greatest challenge has been confronting my weaknesses. In the mission field, imperfections of character become exposed and often need to be confronted. When trying to be fully dedicated to God’s work, it is these flaws that attempt to hold a missionary back. However, this also offers a unique experience to learn and grow.
What has been your greatest joy or reward?
My greatest joys have come from evangelism work. I have a community where I go house to house and do Bible studies. Over time, I have made great friends with my Bible study contacts. It is a true blessing to talk, laugh, and eat together with them as I imagine Jesus would have done. The best reward of all is to see their process of learning and growing until they decide to give their lives to Jesus. Of course, not everyone will make that choice, but it's worth even just one.
How has serving as a student missionary transformed your college experience?
I believe the biggest change this will make to my college experience is focusing on serving others. As a pre-med student, my life at school is dominated by books and studying. This year of service has made me realize that service is a lifestyle. If I can’t live that lifestyle even while busy with school, then can I ever live it? I don’t want to just serve when it's convenient for me, but rather to live as a servant.
Who would you recommend student missions to?
If somebody is looking to get a new perspective on service and the purpose of their religion and faith, then student missions is for them. If they want to get real with God and with themselves, then missions is for them as well. Whether or not somebody wants these things is up to them, but I believe everyone needs to have these experiences.
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