By Emma Munter (Northcentral University)
Emma's Journal - January 10, 2017...
"I said goodbye to the United States of America today for almost four months and I think it's the best thing for me. I need to relearn how to trust the Lord."
At that point in time, I could barely speak one sentence in Spanish. My skin color was Minnesota, milky white. I thought that I hated hot weather. I thought I enjoyed being alone. I had not a single clue of what culture shock was. I told myself (it seems silly now) that there was no way I'd be able to be close to the students in my program who I'd only be with for four months. Today, none of those things are the case.
In a short nine days, my chapter with LASP will have its last sentence written, the page will be turned, and I will say extremely difficult goodbyes, for seemingly the millionth time this semester.
The last three weeks, during my immersion, have been the most challenging of my entire life. If we're honest, the last three months in general have been. I have had my faith questioned, I have questioned my country & the way the US does church, how I interact with people has changed, and I have been forced to do things that I REALLY did not want to do.... and so much more.
I am so tired.
It's a strange feeling to have a heavy heart from being so far removed from any ounce of normalcy in life, and yet knowing that soon, I will ache for a place that seems foreign in this moment, but somehow, has become home.
I, as it was the first day of this journey, am back to having no idea about what is ahead of me in my returning "home." Really, I am absolutely terrified. "But, Emma, why are you terrified? It's home. It should be easy."
I'm terrified because literally everything in my life is different today than it was on January 10, 2017. I am not the same Emma Munter as I was three months ago. I am extremely thankful that I am not the same today as three months ago because if I was, that would mean I went through an intense program and allowed myself to be unchanged; how awful would that be? With that reality, comes the knowledge that I am not allowed to have expectations of what re-entry is going to look like. LASP has taught me to ditch expectations; to have an open mind and an open heart. This doesn't end when my time in Costa Rica ends.
January 10, 2017....
"'All I know is everything I have means nothing, Jesus, if You're not my One thing.' I want to learn how to live in this reality and fully lean upon it in the next 110 days. It will be a process, but it's a process I am ready for."
Well. I wasn't at all ready for that process, but I went through it anyways. It was messy. It was painful. It was hard.
The only thing that has remained the same through every single second and step of the way is Jesus & He will be the same in three months & in ten years & forever. Even when the world fades away and absolutely nothing remains the same, He does and His love is constant and faithful. Yes, I did relearn how to trust Him, like I prayed on that very first day. If I would not have, I don't think I would have been able to persevere to the bitter end.
Re-entry? Yeah, it's going to be really freaking hard and scary and I will be misunderstood. But my eyes remain on the one thing I can, and will, always find my rest and peace in and the only One who will ever fully know me: Jesus Christ.
"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever." Hebrews 13:8