In the year 2000, I went on a mission trip to Guatemala with Wycliffe Bible Translators. It was a weeklong trip where we were able to see the results of the Bible translation work in Guatemala. Before going, my friends were telling me I was going to become a missionary. I kept telling them, ďNo, Iím not. Iím just going to go on mission trips during the summers when schoolís out and I donít have to teach.Ē When I was in the beautiful country of Guatemala, I felt God impressing upon my heart the need for teachers in the mission field. Some families must leave the mission field because their children arenít receiving a quality education. I didnít want someone to leave the important work of sharing the good news of the Gospel just because I was unwilling to teach in the mission field. I was worried about having plumbing and electricity like I have at home. As part of the trip we stopped at a house where a missionary family was living. It was a beautiful home very similar to what I might find in the United States. The only difference I could see was the water from the faucet wasnít drinkable, but most people have bottled water delivered to their homes. It was as if God was saying to me, ďA little plumbing, Jill, thatís it! You think I canít handle that?Ē I didnít want to live without electricity either. Most people also have electricity so that was also a question answered. I still didnít want to go to a foreign country and live away from my family and friends and all that was familiar to me. My second to last day in Guatemala, I prayed that if God wanted me to go into the foreign mission field, He would change the desires of my heart. Our final night there, we met as a group and talked about our experiences. Almost everyone was changed as a result of the week. When I spoke, I started crying as I talked about how I believed God wanted me to teach missionary kids in a foreign country. There were missionaries there who told me that teaching in the mission field would be better than teaching in the United States. By the time I got back home, I wanted to go teach in a foreign country. I ended up in Guatemala and actually have as students some of the kids that I met on that trip. A few weeks before leaving to come to Guatemala, I was nervous and thinking, ďShould I just go to El Paso, Texas instead?Ē There was a mission there I could go to where I could go across the border to Mexico everyday and work there. I also had a friend in El Paso and could go home easily but decided against that since I would never know what might have been if I didnít go to Guatemala. When I got here, there were so many blessings God had in store for me that I never even imagined or thought about. Right away, I stayed with two different families that reminded me so much of my own. They liked to play cards and board games and so did I. One of the families had kids the same ages as my nephew and nieces who liked to play outdoor games. My church family in Guatemala was a blessing to me also. They were so much like my church family at home and became my family in Guatemala. The climate was perfect, between 65 and 80 everyday of the year with very little humidity. There was fresh fruit and vegetables available inexpensively and close to where I lived as well. I used to worry a lot before coming to Guatemala but my first year here, I remember thinking, ďGod was preparing a place for me in Guatemala before I even knew I was coming here and had taken care of every detail in advance. God is in control and knows exactly what Heís doing, so why worry?Ē
I love living in Guatemala and teaching missionary kids and donít have a plan to return and teach in the United States although I can go there during the summer and at Christmastime and see my family and friends.