When I started to fill out my application for Peace Corps in October 2010, I didn’t do it lightly. The idea had been sitting in the back of my mind, and eventually I couldn’t ignore it anymore. I prayed about it, asking God if it was His will. I was a little bewildered because I thought if God was going to call me to live abroad, it would be as a missionary, not as a Peace Corps Volunteer. However, after some time, I finally submitted to His will and sent in my application.
When I came here two years ago, I was adamant that I would only spend two years here. I couldn’t extend for a third year….it was not an option. Two years, done.
Surprise! I’m extending.
Life has a funny way to changing your plans. And by that, I mean God’s plan is often different from my own, and sometimes I even choose to follow His plan, rather than mine. When I was considering extending, I prayed and prayed, trying to find out if this idea was my own, or God’s. And since I’ve moved to my third year site, I’ve been wondering that again, and praying more and more about it.
You see, I was under the impression that if I *chose* to extend, God would make my life easier. I would have a good org, better living accommodations, and be able to do exactly what I wanted to do. But it hasn’t worked out that way. My organization is just fine, but it hasn’t been perfect. There were some serious problems with my first home, but I have since moved. And thought I do get to draw up my own job description, more or less, I do have to work within the tribal authority I work for, which isn’t without its own bureaucratic problems. It hasn’t been easy.
Then again, God never promised it would be. He wanted me to stay, not that doing so would be easy.
However, as my life settles into a new normal, I’m starting to appreciate this blessing God has given me. Maybe a blessing in disguise, but a blessing nonetheless. One thing I’ve learned in the past two years is that I am extremely lucky (blessed) to be an American. Even though my family wasn’t exactly affluent, I’ve been afforded many opportunities that people in my host communities never had, Peace Corps and all its difficulties included.
Through all the difficulties of leaving one community and figuring out how to live in another, I have received many little blessings. Mostly I ignored them, as much as I hate to admit it. I was too focused on what I hadn’t been blessed with….rather than what God was blessing me with.
Now, as I begin my third year, I am going to intentionally try to focus on all the blessings I receive every day….big ones, little ones, and even those ones in disguise. God brought me here to teach me something, and I’m still learning. I know this year won’t be easy, but I am trusting in His plan. And I know I can lean on Him when things get though.