Only ten more days…
I cannot fully believe that I, Alyssa Martinez, a girl who has never left the country, never been on a plane by herself, and isn’t very adventurous, is about to live in a foreign country for two, WHOLE, months. I have to be completely honest, I am most definitely terrified… but yet, so excited to see how the Lord is going to use me in Chile.
Now for those who do not know why I am going to Chile, here’s how I chose Chile, or well, how Chile really chose me.
About a year ago, Julian Pizarro, told me he was planting a church down in Santiago through our home church, Champion Forest Baptist. He knew how badly I wanted to learn Spanish and quickly invited me to spend a summer down there. Unfortunately, last summer didn’t work due to summer school, but now, here I am. I will be assisting Julian and his wife, Jessica, through singing worship and hopefully, doing children’s ministry. Now, since the church is new, I will have to be flexible and at the moment, do not know what my daily schedule will be like as I’m down there. I have been sort of imagining that I’ll be sitting in a coffee shop, sipping on a latte and blogging, but that might not be the case. I am going to try really hard to maintain this and share all that I am encountering!
Now, for some fears of mine…
1. The language barrier. People always ask about how much Spanish I know, and well, let’s just say, I can pretty much have a decent conversation with a child, haha. But, that’s one of the biggest reasons why I am going. One of my biggest dreams in life is to become fluent in Spanish. Now, being 75% Hispanic and with the last name Martinez, I feel a little obligated to know a good amount but I really want to be fluent for myself. So, you will definitely be hearing about my struggles communicating but I know that the Lord will provide the words that I will need.
2. I will be kind of on my own. Now, I will be living with a host family, and probably will be seeing the pastor of the church, Julian, and his family, often, but I am not going to Chile with a team. I am flying on a plane for 10 1/2 hours by myself and most likely learning the city on my own. Now, that’s terrifying to me, but I get this sense of excitement about experiencing independence and learning more about what I am capable of, so bring it on!
3. This one kind of goes in hand with number two but I am most definitely worried about feeling lonely. Since I won’t be with a team, there will be many moments where it’s just me. Now, that’s okay, trust me, I enjoy alone time but I love, love, love to be with people. One of my favorite things to do is to sit in a coffee shop with a friend and just talk about life. It truly brings me joy and I really hope I will get the opportunity to experience that in Santiago. But for my friends and family out there, expect some FaceTime calls because man, I will definitely need to see some familiar faces!
So that’s the gist of most of my fears. Weirdly, writing them all down kinda makes it more real and scary but here’s what I am excited for!
1. The food! Y’all, I don’t think y’all understand how much of a foodie/cultural nerd I am. I constantly Google articles about food and customs down there. I am so excited to just roam around the city and eat completos, empanadas, and sopapaillas. Once, I have actually tried them, I’ll definitely be posting about them and probably will not stop talking about how great everything is!
2. Learning how to navigate in a city by myself. Now, I am from Houston and take pride in knowing how to use a map without Siri telling me where to go, but to be somewhere completely foreign without data for Siri, is frightening but exciting. I am so excited to see how much more independent I will become and to finally learn how to be a traveler.
3. Since a big reason why I am going to Chile is to learn Spanish, I am obviously super excited to see how much I will learn. I hope to be somewhat fluent and to be able to have a full conversation with not only children, but adults. Ha! We shall see but I know that it can only go up from here!
4. Growing more in my faith. This last semester of college was a huge test in my faith. I went through some hardships and experienced a lot of emotions regarding change and moving forward in life. Through some difficult moments, the Lord really pursued me and gave me comfort and peace that everything would work out. I still have moments where I get in a rut but He’s always there with encouragement that He has it all figured out for me. Since March, my faith really has been challenged and I have grown more and more each month in it. So I am looking forward to giving my talents to the Lord and allowing them to be used for His Glory and being challenged in my faith. It’s insane what opportunities the Lord presents us with when we choose to open our eyes to His plans!
So as I conclude my first ever blog, I want to encourage others to be open to what the Lord has planned for you. I’m not one who is adventurous or spontaneous, but I know the Lord will push me to my limits in Chile and I could not be more excited to see how He plans on shaping me. This blog will hopefully be written in often and full of pictures of my new adventure in Chile. Prayers are always, always appreciated and I ask that you pray for not only me, as I embark this trip, but for the people I encounter, that they truly see the love of Christ, through language barriers and all!
Also, I am still fundraising through my GoFundMe page if you feel led to donate!
I hope y’all enjoy these blog posts!