MEET MARIA KAYONDO: she moved to America, met the Lord, and has an overwhelming desire to spend her days serving.
What led you to say yes to your first mission trip?
So I am from Uganda, Africa, and have lived in the US for 6 years. I just graduated college in May. Honestly missions was never on my radar. The plan that I had in mind was to graduate college and move back home ASAP. But the lord had other plans. I attended Truett McConnell University in Cleveland, GA, and everyone who attends Truett regardless of their major has to minor in the Great Commission. My first mission trip was to Kenya and Tanzania freshman year when I felt strongly to share the gospel to my sisters and brothers in Christ. Before moving to the US I knew about Jesus, but did not have a relationship with Him. Getting saved here and getting baptized and being discipled grew my heart and burdened me for the lost. That’s why I said yes, so that I would be able to be a witness to people back home so many would come to know the one true God through medical missions.
How did your parents and friends respond to your desire to serve internationally?
I think at some point my parents were surprised, but they have been extremely supportive. Through prayer, through donations, and answering the many questions I have. My friends have bought every single T-shirt I have sold through FTN, some have gone on most of these mission trips with me and of course they have prayed with me. I couldn’t do it without them.
What has serving internationally taught you about Jesus?
Honestly the Lord has wrecked me by serving internationally. Through that He has been able to reveal to me some sin in my heart like pride, disobedience, and so much more. The biggest has been the “savior” mentality that I had (and still struggle with sometimes) and pride of wanting to go on these trips to change people. We are not called to do that; He simply calls us to step out in obedience and love whomever we come in contact with. He(Jesus) does the changing and transformation.
How did serving internationally change you long-term?
To the best of my ability, I believe this is what the Lord has called me to do long term. Medical missions is my heart beat. I have been on six international mission trips and see it as a long term calling for my life. As a nurse, I want to live my life serving and meeting the needs of people across the world and nations, while sharing Jesus with them. The Lord hasn’t opened up any doors for me right now to be on the mission field full term. Graduating nursing school, I thought I would be on the plane back home to Uganda right after that and that didn’t seem like where He was drawing my heart. I then thought it was back in Haiti or South East Asia and no, not even a single door opened up. For now, I believe that my mission field is in Cleveland and Gainesville at the hospital. I love being here. Of course not a day goes by that I don’t think about Uganda or Asia, so I am patiently waiting and praying for God to show me where He wants to use me. I’m excited though to go back to Haiti in two weeks!
If you could tell the world one thing about serving internationally, what would you say?
Pray, go, and serve. Step out in obedience.
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