by Katelyn Pauls

The one question prospective student missionaries get asked the most is "why?" In my experience, people want to know why I'm eager to give up all of the creature comforts I have here to spend a year in a foreign country. Here are the reasons that I want to pack up and go to a place that might possibly have no electricity or running water; a place where the climate is hot and muggy and bugs run rampant; a place where God can strengthen my faith and challenge me beyond any thing I could ever imagine.

Number 1: There's a verse, Matthew 24:14, that I think is at the heart of the matter. I heard it summarized this way at vespers one night: "Until everyone goes somewhere, no one's going anywhere." I don't want to be the reason that Jesus hasn't come back yet. I'm not saying that everyone needs to go to a foreign country; but, I'm also not saying that everyone can stay at home either. That's between you and God. I feel like God has called me to go to Thailand and I want to respond with all of the energy I possess.

Number 2: For most of my life I've been crazy about missions. At the age of 11, I went on my first mission trip and I've been hooked ever since! In about the 6th or 7th grade, I had made up my mind that I wanted to be a missionary. As soon as I knew that I was going to attend Southern Adventist University my first year in college, I began looking into their Student Missions program. I didn't care how I would spend my time at Southern, I just knew that for one whole year I would be going to a foreign country to share God's love with others. The more I think about my character, I can't help but feel that this is my purpose in life. I love to travel, I adapt to situations easily, and I'm always ready to try something new. I can't help but praise God that He created me with this desire to serve people because He knew one day, I would have an opportunity to be a student missionary.

So here I am, preparing for the best (and definitely the most challenging) year of my life! I can't focus on much else but my future adventure and find that most of my conversations with my friends revolve around Thailand. My paperwork is in, vaccinationsover and done with, and there's a spring in my step that even the worst homework assignment can't get rid of. Thailand, here I come!