About three years ago, I spent an entire summer in Baja, California, Mexico translating for American teams coming from US churches that sponsor a Baja Church. The groups come to encourage the church members, see how it’s growing and help with needs that can be met or mostly met in a week.
They do benevolence visits in the homes of church members and visitors, and classes at night, gospel-meeting style: opening song, welcome, prayer, split into classes (men, women, teens, kids) then, reconvene, another song, a prayer, a sermon, 5 invitations (with songs, all ten verses of each), and break.
There’s tons to translate but I love it. Over the years, I got really good at anticipating where I’d be needed, or what my co-translators I’d worked with for a while would be needing at any time, I got a good system going, and feel like I do an ok job.
Then, halfway through first semester of this year, God told me not to go to Mexico this summer, at least not the whole time. I said “what? But I have to go.” And God said “stay.”
So I said “ok.”
While I spent the rest of the school year thinking about what an adjustment this would be for me, I realized that it was probably a good idea to stay, because I had started building my identity around “translator Sara,” whom everyone loves, who is now comfortable serving in translating for Baja Missions.
I’d actually been feeling for a while that I needed to have more trust and branch out. From conversations I’ve had with several people, the Baja Missions door is always open for me, whenever time/finances allow.
I finally realized that holding onto just that door was limiting other ways in which God could be using me.
So I walked away from Baja’s door, leaving it open for next time, but having decided to welcome opportunities to walk through new doors, to be used in new and different ways; having decided to trust God to bring me to where I need to go, instead of continuing to serve where it is most comfortable.
A little while after I made my decision not to spend another summer in Baja, I got a call from a lady at my church, who was going on a medical mission to Guatemala through Health Talents International. They needed a translator and for some reason, my name had popped up in her mind.
So, I decided to give it a go. I’d never been, I had some experience in medical translating, and it would be a big step of faith for me.
The trip was June 2-9 and we had a great week of delicious coffee and fellowship, and service to countless Guatemalans who came for surgeries or consults. Our surgeons and their teams performed something like 70 surgeries that week.