I did not sign up for this


By: Jenifer Wilkes

I have made it to another weekend. It has been long. It has not been what I thought it was going to be, but here we are. There have been multiple times this week that I have said to myself “I did not sign up for this.”

Here are some examples:

  • I did not sign up to do data entry.
  • I did not sign up to clean bathrooms every Monday through Friday.
  • I did not sign up to live with 12 girls.
  • I did not sign up to live, work, worship, etc., all in the same building.
  • I did not sign up to listen to a pre-school child tell me a story we had to report to CPS.
  • I did not sign up to cook for 12 girls.
  • I did not sign up to sleep two feet away from a girl who got sick the first week.
  • I did not sign up to spend two weeks without an actual class and spend that time as a floater.
  • I did not sign up to get a sunburn every time I went outside for more than 10 minutes.
  • I did not sign up to go hiking, especially in the snow, in June.
  • I did not sign up to even see snow in June.
  • I did not sign up for the church and other community members to be as welcoming as they are.
  • I did not sign up to grow so close to these wonderful kids in two short weeks.
  • I did not sign up for God to break me in a whole new way.
  • I did not sign up to meet and serve this many internationals.
  • I did not sign up for people to know why I was here based on my accent alone.
  • I did not sign up for people to tell me how much they love what they do here, especially when most of them do not know Jesus.
  • I did not sign up for any of this.

What I did sign up for was to serve Jesus well.

  • I did sign up to serve this community and its leadership.
  • I did sign up to serve as an encouragement to the missionaries already here and staying here long term.
  • I did sign up to love these kids and the community the way Jesus loves me.
  • I did sign up for this.

These two lists seem completely different. Most of the "did not" list consists of seemingly negative things. It is also much longer than the "did" list. Despite this, the two lists connect. Because of the things I did sign up to do, I got the amazing opportunity to do the things I did not sign up to do. Through everything I did not sign up to do, I have seen love, service and encouragement in unexpected places. Something I have learned here, more so than ever before, is when I'm willing to be flexible and do the things I did not sign up to do, God allows me to be a part of something He already planned.

Jenifer Wilkes, a student from Tarleton State University, is serving as a Go Now missionary in Tahoe City, California.