Before my journey this summer, I had never been out of the United States.
I had no comparable experience I could use as a basis for any expectations for the summer—really didn't know what to expect. It was difficult to have any sort of expectations.
But I knew what I wanted out of it. I wrote in my journal days before my departure, "I want to come away valuing Christ more supremely than ever and treasuring the gospel more deeply than ever."
I knew that since God had made a way for me to go and provided for every detail, this experience had eternal significance. It was more than just an opportunity that had the potential to deeply influence my life. No, we're talking about the God who is the Author of the life story of the billions and billions individuals who have existed throughout history, the God who purposefully weaves the simplest events and seemingly insignificant details together to add up to the beautiful and profound and glorious story of History—the stories of individual lives he uses to bring about his perfect and sovereign will.
God's plan for me is not limited to my lifetime.
I love the quote from John Piper that says, "God is always doing 10,000 things in your life, and you may be aware of just three of them." Although I will never know all the things that God did through what I experienced, saw, and did this summer, I went into it knowing that it wasn't about me.
My journal entry about wanting to treasure Christ and the gospel more than ever reflected my desire to only gain the only thing worth gaining: Jesus Christ. Yes, I gained so much about cross-cultural living, and assimilation, and language learning, and missiology, and discipleship, and evangelistic strategies. But my mindset going into this internship was the glory of Christ. That's what gave this summer eternal significance.
Before my journey this summer, I had never been out of the United States. The thought of setting foot on soil halfway around the world from my home was surreal. So surreal. But then I landed, and it became so real. And it was still just life as I had lived it before—but at the same time it was completely new. After so much anticipation for this experience I'd never had before, the words "I'm here" meant SO much. I just couldn't get those words out of my head once we landed.