If there’s one thing that I’ve learned in the past four years, it’s that God’s timing and plans are not always in line with mine.
Four years ago, I started classes at North Georgia College and State University. I entered into the ROTC program there with a simple timeline in mind: Go to college, major in international affairs, and commission into the Army. But God had other plans.
Into the latter part of my first semester, I felt like I wasn’t on the right path—that God was leading me in a different direction, one that would combine a passion for both animals and people and that would allow each to benefit the other. The following year, I found myself at North Carolina State University pursuing a degree in animal science with no real plan in mind (a notion that was difficult for my sometimes Type A personality).
I spent the rest of my college career enjoying my time in Raleigh, attempting to answer the question that every college student loathes (“What are your plans after graduation?”), and praying that the Lord would guide me to whatever path He wanted me to take. Little did I know, He would open a door that would lead to Vietnam.
Toward the end of my senior year, I applied for an international internship with Samaritan’s Purse. Admittedly, Southeast Asia wasn’t ever really on my bucket list of places to go. So I had no idea what was in store for me halfway around the world. But I had faith that God knew what He was doing. God’s timing and plans are not always in line with my own. They are so much better.
After being in Vietnam for just a few weeks, I have witnessed the beauty of the landscape, culture, and people here—an opportunity that I would’ve likely missed if I had been left to my own devices. I’m amazed by this place.
The sights, smells, and experiences here are both foreign and familiar, stressful and relaxing, difficult and easy. Sometimes even menial tasks like crossing the street, ordering water to drink, and pronouncing simple phrases like “hello” and “thank you” present challenges that are difficult to navigate. At the same time, I’m often moved by the cheerful spirits and welcoming attitudes of Vietnamese people toward obvious foreigners, and I somehow feel at home here—like this is exactly where I’m supposed to be.
I never would have imagined that this is where the Lord would lead me, but I can’t praise Him enough for the answered prayers, guidance, and opportunities that challenge me and allow me to grow closer to the Savior who is worthy and deserving of my time, attention, and praise. I can’t verbalize just how grateful I am to be able to learn what life is like in a culture different from what is comfortable back home, but I pray that God will continue to use this experience to mold me and shape me into the person He has called me to be.
If you ask me what my plans are post-internship, I will tell you with complete and certain honesty that I have no idea. But what I do know is that God’s timing and plans are far greater than anything I can imagine. So I will continue to trust in Him and embrace the amazing plan that He has for my life.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6, NKJV).
The Samaritan’s Purse internship program is an opportunity for college students and recent graduates to use their skills to impact the world in a tangible way. Find out more here.