The Simplest Things

It’s only been six months since I moved out of my comfort zone of family and friends, said goodbye to my high school classmates, and committed one year to serve in MENA.  I teach English to young girls.

I was worried about coming here.  I didn’t know what I would do, what it would be like in a different culture.  But one of my last Sabbaths in my home church, my pastor preached about the fruits of the Spirit.  Suddenly, all the lights went off in my thinking.  I realized I simply need to let God produce the fruits of the Spirit in my life.  Love, joy, peace, and all the rest!

I’m learning even in these few months that witnessing is not complicated.  I watch my girls respond to the simplest things.  I am always surprised to see the impact on them of a little attention, an encouraging statement, or an answer to one of their endless questions.

I’m learning how important it is to ask the girls what they want to be when they grow up.  I don’t think anybody asks them to think about their future. When I do, their eyes light up.  I wonder what God has planned for them.

I’m learning that many things are new to them.   When the teen girls want to talk about life, I realize they’ve probably never heard the values I share with them about kindness, fairness, and choosing what kind of person they want to be.  They fight with each other a lot. When I smile and say, “Friends, friends,” I can tell that’s a new idea to them–that friends don’t fight. 

That’s how I came to the realization that my real contribution here is the quality of person I am.   I’m representing God to them.  I may be the only Christian they ever interact with, and I need to make an intentional decision as to who I will be.  That responsibility has changed me.

–A volunteer English teacher