The term ‘abroad’ has never been part of my vocabulary, especially ‘teaching abroad’. So, the possibility of leaving my parent’s home before the age of 25 not in the confines of marriage has always been a foreign idea. Now, in 2017, my life has flopped and the term ‘abroad’ is becoming an accurate description of my future.
A little background knowledge…
I was what you might call, a sheltered child, never even knowing that there were other opportunities for me besides marriage. *sigh* I know, how very 19th century of me. But what do you expect? I come from a Russian family of conservative baptists. I am the youngest of 7 children, and 5 out of 7 of my siblings married before the age of 20. So, I was obviously influenced in my decisions.
But, being the free spirit that I am, I made the decision to stray from the path expected of me by the society that I grew up in. Around the age of 17, when I accepted Christ in my heart, I began to realize that the fears my conservative baptist church planted into my heart were very (how should I say this without offending someone) *clears throat*… dumb. The church that I grew up in was for once, not correct in its teachings. That sudden realization was like a wooden chair slam across the face. In that moment, I believe that God spoke to my heart and told me to trust Him in my future, which is what I did. From there, I ended up doing things that 15-year-old Maria would have been livid about. I pierced my ears, vacationed alone with my sister, and chose a career path that was untraditional of a young, Christian, Russian woman. And only now, at 20, the term ‘abroad’ has been applied to my future.
I made the decision to apply to teach abroad in fall of 2016, when I watched a YouTube video of a young lady successfully teaching English abroad in South Korea. I was completely fascinated by this idea. I saw myself in her place. What lead me to act on my newly found wonder was the sense of peace in my heart. I did a lot of research and with everything that I learned, the peace in my heart stayed. After praying and discussing it with my parents, did I finally decide to apply.
To my amazement, I was accepted. My unrealized dream became a reality.
I guess the moral of this post is that God truly works in mysterious ways. At 17, I was at a point in my life where I didn’t see where God was leading me. My interests were not the same as my friends and family, so I became discouraged. My life was far from exciting. It wasn’t until after I came to God with a trusting heart did the puzzle pieces of my life start coming together. I saw God’s hand working in my life. I saw His will for me and I followed.
I hope this post serves as inspiration to someone out there. Regardless, this is a description of a turning point in my life. I am currently going through the hiring process with CIEE to teach abroad and am planning on taking my TEFL course this August. I will be updating everyone on the progress of my ‘teach abroad’ status.
‘Till next time,
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.”