Many of us think of how amazing it would be to live overseas. Some of us dream about living on a deserted island far away from home and all it’s problems. Other people dream about living overseas because we feel a divine pull toward helping people in countries that are not as privileged as America. Having lived overseas for a short period of time, I can say that there’s good news and bad news about living overseas. The good new is that a dream can become a reality with a lot of faith and perseverance, but the bad news is that it’s not as glamorous as one may think. First and foremost, living overseas is not for everyone. For most of us, getting out of our comfort zone looks like getting a new job, moving into a new city or neighborhood, making new friends, changing the way we think, entering into a new relationship with a significant other, etc. But for a very small percentage of us, getting out of our comfort zone looks like all of the above plus moving to another country for a cause.
There are multiple perspectives on this subject, but I need to start somewhere. For some of us, living overseas is what we were created for. “The LORD had said to Abram, ‘Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you (Genesis 12:1).‘” I’d always had a desire to serve the poor, but I just didn’t know what that would look like on a practical level. My entire life I struggled with depression. I thought I would find fulfillment in getting a promotion at work, but nothing seemed to satisfy this longing in my heart for more the everyday temporary high. Then one day the depression finally took a toll on me. In 2013 I found myself holding a knife to my throat ready to kill myself. I didn’t feel like I had any purpose for my life any more.
There’s many different reasons for that that I won’t get into, but what I will say is that my suicide attempt changed my entire outlook on life. I knew I had to change. If I were to keep living my life the same way I’d been living it, I’m sure I would have already given up and taken my life by this point. When I held that knife to my throat, I got visions of Middle Eastern children lying on the floor decapitated, their families arguing, bombs exploding, etc. When I saw that vision, God said to me, “My son, if you really want to die, then die for a cause, don’t die for nothing.”
After God told me that, I knew I couldn’t take my life. After getting inner healing and mentally recovering from my suicide attempt, something inside of me came alive for the first time in my life and I knew what I was supposed to do; I was overwhelmed with a passion to dedicate my whole life to helping people either living in war torn countries, or people who have escaped from war torn countries. Up until this point, my whole life I had dreamed about working for a great company with retirement benefits, buying a nice house, etc. But something inside of me changed. I no longer had a desire for any of those things, and even the thought of living a life like that made me cringe. I knew that I was supposed to dedicate my entire life to serving the poor, but I still didn’t know exactly what that would look like for me.
After I took some time to let my heart heal, I finally went on my first missions trip to Pemba, Mozambique in 2014. The fact that I’d never been on a plane by myself before didn’t matter. Fear had lost it’s grip on me. Death lost it’s sting. Suicide was no longer an option for me, and I knew if I was ever going to die, it would be for a cause. After spending two weeks in Mozambique, I returned home to California, but it wasn’t the same. Everything around me was still the same, but I was different. Many of the people I use to relate to, I could no longer relate to anymore. Home didn’t feel like home anymore.
It did, but it didn’t. After getting back from Mozambique, it felt like I had two homes. When I was in Mozambique, I missed my friends back in California, but after I returned to California, I missed my friends in Mozambique. One thing that did happen after returning to California was that God spoke to me about what I was to do with my life. He told me to get rid of everything I own, quit my job, write a book about my life story, pay off all my credit cards, and go overseas to be a missionary. After two years of preparing, I got rid of all my possessions, finished my book, and went back to Mozambique to study missions with Iris Global. After graduating school in Mozambique, I have recently returned to California and God is already preparing me for where He’s sending me next to be a long term missionary.
While this is what my journey looks like, being an overseas missionary isn’t for everyone. People need to know the love of God all over the planet, but what that looks like on a practical level will be different for everyone. At the end of the day, I believe that whatever it is we invest our time into in this life, it should be something that counts for eternity. I believe Jesus put a burning desire inside all of us to make a difference in this world that will impact a generation we will never see.
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