One Sunday morning I woke up late- adjusting to the Spanish schedule of staying up late into the night just to eat dinner. I climbed up the marble-like stairs to the roof of our huge house overlooking the rich neighborhood and beach that I surely never complained about.
I pulled out my iPhone, desperate for some solitude amidst all the excitement and adventure. I let my fingers click away until I found myself listening to a podcast on Psalm 10.
A Psalm about injustice. People who marginalize and take advantage of the forgotten, the helpless and the hurting.
Surely I am nothing like those horrible people, I thought, I love the poor and forgotten— I would never exploit them.
But in not doing anything am I actually doing something? My side glances as I walk right past the needs, my obsession with my schedule- my own life, and the compartmentalization and separation of ministry and work.
As I spent my summer in Spain, I began to realize how easy it is to get so caught up in my own luxury, comfort or adventure that I forget what we were truly called to.
I so forget the reason I love Spanish so much, or why I yearn to travel the world— that I walk past the people begging on the street without batting an eyelash.
The luxury we all have here in the west is surely no different. It’s comfortable to live in neighborhoods with people the same color as you and friends who can all afford the same things.
But what if we opened our eyes to see the needs literally right in front of us, not saving them for the service projects or mission trips but letting loving others seep into our crammed lives? What if we let love squeeze its way in to our schedules, messing up our time tables and leaving us with the need to trust a little bit more and control a little bit less?
I usually hear people say one or two things regarding missions:
I can’t wait to get out of America, to see the world and make a difference. Things are so stagnant here.
I think I’m just called to ministry at home… I don’t need to leave the country.
Before this trip, my friend and I talked about how we wanted Spain to be something of a mission trip for us. To live intentionally, to take advantage of this opportunity of being in a new country.
I realized how quickly life there became just as comfortable, stagnant even, as life in America.
If we can’t be radical, passionate, and purposed where we are, we’ll never be those things anywhere.
There is value in wanting to travel the world to share the gospel. There is also value in dedicating your life to loving, serving, and sacrificially giving of yourself exactly where you are. But that is the key: purpose and dedication- not just a side job, a hobby or a second thought.
I hope that we can all learn to live fully where we are, trusting the Lord to lead us to heights we never could have reached on our own, and pushing us until we are uncomfortable and clinging only to trust.
I want see the “least of these” everyday and not just walk by with ignorance in my eyes- not because I’m too caught up in adventure or worse yet, because I’m too consumed with my routine.
Hannah Johnson is a senior at the University of Memphis studying Spanish and Journalism. She loves kids, Spanish, writing and traveling. She regularly travels to Tegucigalpa, Honduras with Point of Impact, hanging out with 8 beautiful orphan girls, and working in some of the poorest neighborhoods. In the future she hopes to continue working with ministries in Spanish-speaking countries and sharing the stories of “the least of these.” Whether that means living abroad or working from home, she is excited to see what God has in store! Hannah loves girls, coffee dates, authentic conversations, and the beauty of watching God write each of our unique stories. Join her on Instagram, Twitter, and at Gracia Means Grace.