My journey to Amor was a steady process that was different than what I was used to hearing missionaries talk about. Growing up all of the missionary speakers seemed to have a moment where they directly heard God speaking to them telling them to go to a specific country, usually the one they told God they would never go to! My journey has felt very much the opposite, small step by small step.
When I was 15, our church hired a youth minister, and one of the first things I remember he and his wife doing was taking the youth group and some adults on an Amor Mission Trip to Mexico. I saw extreme poverty for the first time, worked harder than I ever had before, and had a wonderful time serving alongside my group and the family who received a home. That trip stuck with me, and I returned on the Amor trips each summer for the next six years – they were always a highlight of my year.
Probably at about trip number three, I started to think about doing Amor’s summer intern program. I secretly really wanted to do it, but because I lacked confidence, other conflicts during the summers, and who else knows what, I didn’t apply until I was in my second to last year of college. The previous summer I attended a summer camp where LaDonna Barron (current Amor employee) was a missionary speaker. In one of the sessions, she told us, “there will always be a reason not to do something that God has placed on your heart.” I had been waiting for the perfect time to spend the summer in Mexico – and that talk helped me see that there wouldn’t be a perfect time. I just needed to go. The following summer I participated in the program and gained knowledge and wisdom about God, His people, myself, and missions.
After that summer, I felt restless. I loved Mexico and missions but had to finish my last year of college – essentially taking me out of the ministry I loved. So I kept coming on trips, over spring break I spent two weeks serving through Project Barnabas and the following summer I came back on a weeklong trip with my home church. I also found ministries at home through church and a pregnancy resource center where I could continue to serve during that time. On the summer trip to Mexico I saw the HR Coordinator (who I had met the previous summer), and she told me about a couple of job openings.
I went home and considered applying. I really, really, really wanted to come and work for Amor. And the odd thing was that I took that as a sign that maybe I shouldn’t. Maybe it was selfish. After all, much of what I had heard of missionaries in the past was that they really, really, really didn’t want to go where they had been called. I prayed and talked with a lot of friends and family to see if I could get some wisdom, and my mom told me that she believed God could place desires within our hearts to get us to move. I still agree with this and live by it today.
Amor hired me as a Volunteer Programs Coordinator in 2002 and have spent much of my career here running some of the programs that had changed my life – which has been a privilege. I met my husband at Amor and we have been married now for 10 years. My heart loves Amor, Mexico, and missions. Each step along the way, although small, helped me grow in my understanding of God, his desire for my life, and how I am designed to serve Him.