I was set on going to Asia, specifically, Japan.
I was set on going to Japan—my lifelong passion—but God in his faithfulness changed those plans. He opened the way to know more of his heart for all peoples from every corner of the earth, whether I was to stay in San Diego or travel.
In this case, the plan was Argentina.
Before my arrival to study abroad and do missions in Buenos Aires, even prior to deciding on Argentina, God began a process of transforming, expanding, and filling my heart with the things of his heart for the nations. That process continues to this day.
Everything is a process in this life. We can learn to enjoy the process by delighting and abiding in his presence, even in the most pressing circumstances or the most intense stretching by the Spirit. Of course that’s easier said than done.
For me, as the Spirit is constantly working and in motion, I’m learning to be spontaneous in the Spirit through ministry work. I’m grateful beyond measure with the community of people here and the opportunity to serve in different ways through homeless ministry and a major project in El Tigre with children and families in a very complicated situation. The restoration of the Spirit is evident and will continue even after I’m gone.
In another sense, I’m also learning to be more sensitive to the still, small voice of the Spirit and allow him to work in my daily life—to out pour the supernatural into the natural.
Whether walking around, sitting quietly somewhere by myself, with friends, shopping, running errands, and the like, all can be ways where God can reveal more of his heart. Even discussions in class and meeting with so many different types of students and professors, as well as with locals, has been an enriching experience in all areas. For someone who studies history, this area is especially enriching and challenges me everyday.
Earlier this year, I entered into the next step in my prayer life of learning what it means to be an intercessor (one whom the Spirit intercedes through). I have to say that it was one of the most painful and heart wrenching processes, but as I’m still learning, it’s also the most wonderful and indescribably beautiful. I’m also able to find (and invited to find) hidden beauty and the potential for beauty wherever I go. Even the harshest thunderstorms (as we had in the last couple days) are magnificently beautiful here in Buenos Aires.
He is faithful and worthy of it all no matter what. The chiseling, pruning, molding, shaping, refining, and transforming are all worth it. It takes the focus off of me and directs it towards God and his people. The God who makes all things new.
There’s one particular phrase I keep in mind and the Holy Spirit reveals new things about everyday, “Where the will of God leads you, the grace of God will keep you.”
For that, I am thankful!
Shelby Tenove, a sophomore history major at Point Loma Nazarene University in California, is living an adventure this fall semester in Buenos Aires, Argentina to study abroad and serve through international missions. To read more student stories, visit our student testimonials page.
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