01/25/2014: Learning to Serve
Learning to Serve
“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye.” Psalm 32:8.
This particular Bible verse has been a reality in my life for the last three years. At the age of ten I heard the message of truth and at fifteen I was baptized. Going to church every week was a challenge because my parents did not approve of my decision. As the years went by my family accepted the message and even supported me as a youth leader at church. But there was something wrong. Something was missing from my spiritual life and it was just then that the message of True Education and health came to my church in a clearer way. I knew it was the best for me, but it was going to be very difficult to practice at home.
In August of 2010, a campmeeting was held in Lima, Peru. I was blessed by the message and also by the way that God used Brother David Restrepo to help me join Fundacion las Delicias (Foundation Delights) in Colombia. God provided for everything I needed to leave Peru and I was convinced that He would direct this new path in my life.
I arrived in Colombia early in the year 2011. It was there that a new chapter in my life began. New challenges, new culture, new kinds of clothes, new diet, new work, new goals. Everything was so new that at times I felt like giving up, but I knew in my heart that I was in the right place, so I persevered.
I worked in several different departments, including agriculture, kitchen, lifestyle center, and education. The sun felt hot and unbearable while working outside. At times I felt like saying, “I can’t. This is just not for me.” I felt unable to use the tools or even to move a hoe. I had never worked in the fields before, so I wanted to quit. But at the same time I knew that God wanted to shape my character and this was the perfect place for it.
After working in the fields I joined the cleaning crew at the girls’ dorm. That was a true challenge because it was a building with the capacity of 28 girls, and included six bedrooms, a living room, dining room, kitchen, bathrooms, and more. Dealing with the uncooperative girls was a challenge, too, so I learned to say and do everything with love.
Then, I learned to work by faith in the campus kitchen. I thought I knew a lot about cooking but I soon realized that to cook delicious healthy meals with limited resources for more than 100 people was a science. To have everything ready on time, without making mistakes, was an impossibility to me, but God proved me wrong each time when I came to Him in prayer. I vividly remember my experience as a kitchen manager. It was a responsibility that I never dreamed to have. I learned and unlearned many habits in that kitchen. I made myself available to learn and to take on new challenges, and today I can honestly say that I enjoy cooking! I give God thanks for all His leadership and help.
Never say never. I always said that I will never work in an office, but that is where I landed as the school’s secretary. I thought that you gained experience only in active labor, but I soon learned that is not so. I am so thankful to God and Las Delicias for allowing me to have this experience where I had to learn to deal with the regular public, as well as the school’s personnel. To learn to love others as ourselves is an essential experience.
After that, I worked in the lifestyle center. It is a very special place and carries with it great responsibility. Many of our patients know nothing or very little of God and they arrive with great physical and spiritual needs. We can meet these great needs only through Jesus. I learned to cook some special recipes for different ailments, to do physical therapy, and even to do laundry. Our main purpose was to be available for the patients, spend time with them, and get to know them. It was that experience that encouraged me to study to become a Lifestyle Advisor.
I still have far to go, but I have also accomplished so much with God at Fundacion las Delicias. I am grateful to God for rescuing me from the city. I made many mistakes that left scars, but God in His love and mercy used many people and His providence to rescue and help me.
Now, I am on my way to Venezuela to put into practice what I have learned. There is also a great need in Peru, and there are many doors that are opening for the message of True Education and health. God’s people are sick because of the neglect of health laws given to us.
“When the youth give their hearts to God, our responsibility for them does not cease. They must be interested in the Lord’s work, and led to see that He expects them to do something to advance His cause. It is not enough to show how much needs to be done, and to urge the youth to act a part. They must be taught how to labor for the Master. They must be trained, disciplined, drilled, in the best methods of winning souls to Christ…. Let different branches of missionary effort be systematically laid out, in which they may take part, and let them be given instruction and help. Thus they will learn to work for God.” Gospel Workers, 210.
“Freely you have been given, freely give.” Today, first and foremost I have a deep desire to share with my family what I have learned. My hope is that they will all gain knowledge and come to know the Lord. Next will come the task of sharing with friends. My only petition to God is for Him to continue leading my steps. I place myself in His hands so that He will keep doing the work He began in me.
Jacqueline Flores writes from South America. Website for Fundacion las Delicias: http://www.fld.fundacionlasdelicias.org/site/Index.php.