It was a long week, and it had not been what I thought it was going to be. There have been multiple times I have said to myself, “I did not sign up for this.”
I did not sign up to do data entry. I did not sign up to clean bathrooms every Monday through Friday. I did not sign up to live with 12 girls. I did not sign up to live, work and worship all in the same building. I did not sign up to listen to a preschool child tell me a story that later we had to report to CPS. I did not sign up to cook for 12 girls. I did not sign up to sleep maybe two feet away from a girl who got sick the first week. I did not sign up to spend two weeks without an actual class and spend that time as a floater. I did not sign up to get sunburned every time I went out side for more than 10 minutes. I did not sign up to go hiking, especially in the snow, in June. I did not sign up to even see snow in June.
I did not sign up for the church and other community members to be as welcoming as they are. I did not sign up to grow so close to these wonderful kids in two short weeks. I did not sign up for God to break me in a whole new way. I did not sign up to see and get to serve this many internationals. I did not sign up for people to know why I was here based on my accent alone. I did not sign up for people to tell me how much they love what they do here, especially when most of them do not know Jesus. I did not sign up for any of this.
What I did sign up for is to serve Jesus well. I did sign up to serve this community and the leadership here. I did sign up to serve as an encouragement to the missionaries already here and who will stay here long term. I did sign up to love these kids and the community the way Jesus loves me. I did sign up for this.
These two lists seem completely different. Most of the “did not” list consists of seemingly negative things. It is also much longer than the “did” list. The two lists connect. Because I did sign up to do all these things, I got the amazing opportunity to do the things I did not sign up to do. In everything I did not sign up to do, I have seen how that shows love, service and encouragement, with the exception of a few things. Something I have learned here, more so than at any time, is when I’m willing to be flexible and do the things I did not sign up to do, God allows me to be a part of something he already had planned.
Jenifer Wilkes, a student at Tarleton State University, is serving through Go Now Missions with a children’s ministry at First Baptist Church, Tahoe City, Calif.