Everyone Has a Story
Waiting to Serve
By Andrew Semotiuk
But, the hope of serving all but disappeared as each year of college passed. Summers spent working on our family farm proved fruitless for funding this dream, and my part-time job at the college was barely enough to scratch by on. I questioned why God would not, somehow, provide the funds for me to get to the mission field. After all, I wanted to do His work. This was always in the back of my mind as I studied and worked. I continued on to graduate school where I saved every penny of my research stipend.
By the end of two years, I had mustered up enough money for a ticket and, finally, on a sunny, but humid day, I arrived at an orphanage in the Guatemalan jungle where I was the only student missionary. The children and teens living in the orphanage needed mentoring with the spiritual, academic, and personal struggles they battled.
That evening I ate my first supper with the orphans, and I met a talkative, but distressed teenager. I learned that Sofia and her younger siblings had chosen to live at the orphanage. Their uncle had been their guardian and they had frequently had to run away and hide in the jungle to escape his violence.
As I got to know Sofia better, I realized that God had placed me there for this 13-year-old girl who desperately needed a big brother. She loved and fiercely protected her siblings, but struggled daily with life in the orphanage. She followed the rules, but then would get punished when other teens misbehaved, which would make her sad and tearful. For example, one time she was looking forward to a camping trip, but it got canceled when some other children were disobedient.
Sometimes the other kids would call her a “goodie-two-shoes,” not understanding that all she wanted was a calm, orderly life for her and her siblings. I would talk with her about why people act the way they act and how that impacts everyone. I wanted her to understand what was going on and give her strategies to continue carving out a peaceful life for herself and her siblings. I’d also just sit and chat with her like an older brother would.
My own life lessons, experiences, and even class lectures from college provided me with wisdom on how I could best help Sofia with her struggles. When she gave me a note saying that I had helped her overcome some of the sad issues in her life, I was so thankful that I could help.
My long wait to be a student missionary turned out to be crucial for me to benefit the children I had come to mentor. I used to wonder why God would not answer my prayer to serve as a missionary. Now, I wonder what unknown plans he has me for me in the future.
Andrew Semotiuk writes from eastern Washington. All rights reserved © 2012 StoryHarvest.org. Click here for content usage information.