This is hard.
It’s been annoying how often I’ve actually said those three words. It has been frustrating that I cry almost every single day. And it was really hard when my plane landed and the first thought that slipped into my head was “oh sh*t”. “What on earth did I commit to?” “Why am I here?” “This was a crazy idea. I should go home.” And it was scary when I looked at my mom the night of January 4th and whispered, “I don’t think I can do this”. But I’m here. It’s January twenty fifth and I am still in Medellin, Colombia. I’m kind of doing “this”.
Quick “catch me up” if you’re new to me: I’m an eighteen year old who knew that God was tugging my heart towards missions my freshman year of high school. Long story short, high school was terrible. I graduated a year early with the intent to head off to Africa. I’m not in Africa. God kept closing that door. I dipped out of the church I had been going to for roughly the last ten years and hopped into a church that I wasn’t really interested in. But but but, as soon as this dude announced the church’s upcoming mission trip to Colombia, I was sold. And I few months later I found myself in a new country and I loved it. But then I went home. After a whole bunch of prayer and skype and emailing and inner healing and hard goodbyes I am back. And I’m living here and “this is hard”.
There have been some really amazing parts. Last night I went out with friends from the first trip for pizza! And a few days after I got here, the foundation I’m interning with started it’s biannual missions intensive. Essentially, a missions team from The States joined with Colombians gets together for a week and learns cool stuff about Jesus. And that was good for connecting and being busy and not sitting in my apartment in a big old ball of tears. It was also really cool to do all the stuff. My personal favorite part of all of that was our sancocho night; sancocho is a traditional soup/stew here. It is typically cooked on the streets. We cooked it at the foundation and then carried it a few blocks up to where we fed the community. Groups went out forty five minutes before they served the sancocho, praying for and inviting people to join us. So we get there and it is pretty much controlled chaos. It’s dark. There’s a huge group of people wanting food. There’s lot of tiny humans and big humans and it’s crazy. They have the kids sit down on the street and the adults line up against the wall. I was on the “sit the kids down on the streets” team. And in the midst of running styrofoam bowls of hot soup to kids one of the women serving soup says “Maggie, start singing.” Huh? That’s super awkward. Right here? Right now? So I began to sing Oceans, in Spanish. My skin was crawling with awkwardness. I kept singing. People were running around feeding kids, singing, in the middle of this business felt so stupid. It felt insignificant. At first. And then the director of the foundation asked me to come sit by a group of boys, I would guess their ages were between eight and twelve. He said they were fascinated with my voice. So I sat down and handed them my folded, wrinkled, written on lyrics and asked them to pick one. And I sat there singing on this not very clean street, and I had stopped shaking and crawling with awkwardness and I was just praising Jesus. The boys asked me to sing in English, because English is funny and entertaining, right? Yes. And next thing I know there are homeless men on both sides of me. Men. Not little kids. I’m not going to lie, I think I stopped singing for a second or two because part of me filled with fear. And that was bs, because they’re humans, and when I remembered that, I kept singing. Never in my life has my voice sounded more beautiful to me than on that street, with strangers surrounding me listening to me sing worship. That’s my favorite thing from being in Medellin so far.
On top of the good, there is still a lot of hard here. Like the fact that I’ve never been away from my mom for more than two weeks. I don’t really have roots here. I miss my family. There is a whole lot of new. I’m not a big fan of changes and I dove head first into the deep end of change. I’m living in a new culture. I don’t speak Spanish. I’m emotionally exhausted. That’s just a small list. There is absolutely nothing that could’ve prepared me for how hard this is. “This is hard” doesn’t even begin to cover how this is or how it feels. I jumped into this saying I would be here for “a year, or two, or ten, maybe forever” and since arriving I have drastically changed that answer. I have chosen to get to May. In May the decision of go home or stay here happens. And because I was having such a difficult time, I set a countdown for forty days. I told myself that I had to make it to forty days. After forty, I would allow myself to come home if need be. I have seventeen days, four hours and a lotta minutes and seconds before forty. But God is good, and however long He has me here for, I know it’s going to be an adventure, probably a crazy one, but I’m here so I might as well hang on for at least part of the ride.
It feels really crazy and I can’t believe that I’m here. But I am. Working on clinging to my good, good Jesus and getting in a lot of bible time. I currently hang out with the babies at the foundation, so snuggles help hearts that are a little melancholy and the two year olds really like tickles. I also joined the soccer team, but I don’t play soccer. At all. Your thoughts and prayers are oh so coveted and I love hearing from you fabulous human beings. Thanks for joining me in this wildness.