By: Hannah Goucher
The minute I returned from my ETEAM trip to Japan in 2017, I knew God was calling me to be a missionary. Before this trip, I had an interest in missions but no inclination to go as a missionary. Once I sat down on the flight back to the United States, I knew that mission work was something to which God was calling me. I surrendered. From then on, I was ready to go wherever God called me. Or so I thought.
I began to study missions at Welch College in the fall of 2017, and received copious amounts of instruction, wisdom, and guidance that I will truly cherish for the rest of my life. I was fully prepared to use the things I learned and was so excited to head to the mission field as soon as possible. During my senior year, though, I let many events get in the way of being obedient to God’s calling. Some were big and some small, but either way I allowed myself to put my wants and supposed “needs” in the place of the perfect will of God. I wrestled for quite a bit of time, questioning if I was doing the right thing. In my heart I knew I was heading on a path of disobedience. Don’t get me wrong, the things I wanted to do instead of going straight to the mission field were not bad. I just began to say, “Maybe later?” when God was saying, “Now.”
I will never forget the day I decided to be obedient. I was a counselor at a teen summer camp. That night, after many nights of feeling confused in trying to go my own way, I felt the peace that comes from surrendering your will to the God Whose ways are always good.
Soon I will be returning to Japan as an intern missionary solely through the grace and goodness of God. One verse that has stuck with me throughout this journey is Proverbs 19:21, “Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand.” Though it seems easy for us to establish our own plans and ideas, may we all seek to surrender to the perfect will of God.