‘Would you ever consider going abroad to be, you know, … a missionary?’ Two years ago, if you had challenged with me with that question, I would probably have just laughed.
My reply would have been something like, “Sounds like a good thing to do, but I really don’t think I’m cut out for mission life. I’m still working out how to navigate life post-university, let alone in another country!”
Yet, despite this, here I am writing this article on a sunny balcony in Torino, Northern Italy. I have been serving with IFES here for two years. I have just been accepted by UFM to remain for another 3-5 years, and I am very grateful for how the Lord has used me here, despite my obvious unwillingness at the beginning!
God definitely has a sense of humour in placing a recently graduated 21-year-old home-bird who only went on her first flight a year prior; is not a confident public speaker; does not like change; and would definitely be out on the first round of Master Chef – here in Torino serving international students, something which very much involves living away from home, lots of change, leading a student group and rustling up meals for a large group on a weekly basis!
Now you might be thinking, “Well what changed, Alice? Was it you? Did you suddenly work out how to navigate life?” If only! Truth be told, through the experiences of the last two years, God has been showing me how mission work is not really about me and my ‘super great mission skill set’; it is about him and how he uses us in our weaknesses.
And so, I decided to stay long term, knowing that I will probably have to do things I don’t feel the most capable at, and there will be moments of hardship from living cross-culturally. Yet, I am assured by the truth that God uses us in our weaknesses for his Glory! Praise God that mission is about him not me!
Alice Larke is on IFES InterAction, working with students in Italy