• Ann

Preparing for the Next Chapter

Well, I have almost reached 10 months of living in Bolivia. I don’t know how the time has gone this fast! Since I am quickly nearing 1 year of service, I have had to make an important decision: do I continue as a Salesian Lay Missioner or do I go home? And my answer is. . . it is time to go home.

Let me walk you through this decision. If I have learned one thing in my time here, it is that God’s timing is perfect. I had occasionally thought about doing mission work since high school before feeling truly called to it in 2019. Not doing mission work right out of high school or college allowed me to get 3 years of teaching experience under my belt. Then my mission experience was delayed because of Covid, which I now realize was part of God’s timing. You see, the Bolivian school year starts in February. I arrived in January with enough time to adjust to life at the Hogar and run around applying for an extended visa before it was time to start classes, which have been online all year. I know that my teaching experience has helped me juggle the crazy schedules and assisting the girls with their homework. Not to mention that I helped students with online classes in the states while I was waiting for my visa. All that is to say, my skills were needed exactly when I came to Bolivia.

So how does this affect my decision to go home? Well, the Bolivian school year is quickly coming to an end, and discussion is hinting at having in-person classes start again in 2022. Now I know that my service extends beyond just helping with school, but that has been my biggest responsibility here at the Hogar. I have a gut feeling that I have served my purpose here. I came when my skills were needed the most. And now it is time for another person who has different skills to serve in their time.

Other factors in my decision include happy family events that I want to be a part of. My little brother is engaged to be married in July, and I have a new niece that I can’t wait to meet. My other nieces and nephews are growing, learning, and changing everyday as well, and I want to be back to see some of those changes.

Most importantly, I know that mission work is only temporary. The longest time an SLM can serve is about 3 years. Sooner or later, it will be time to think about what is next after mission. While I don’t know exactly what my life will look like when I get back home, I have a feeling that it is time to start the next chapter in my life. Although it may be a little scary stepping into the unknown of what comes next, I have faith that God has a plan for my life. And it will be more beautiful than I could ever imagine. (And believe, I spend a good amount of time imagining what my life could be like.)

In the meantime, I am going to enjoy the time I have left with these girls because I know, all too soon, that time will be gone.

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