By Amanda Ceraldi
Current volunteer in Guatemala
with Franciscan Mission Service
As much as I try to deny these things about myself, I know it’s my
personality. However, these traits are not always conducive to mission.
During formation we often talked about the importance of flexibility on
mission and how to adapt to situations. For me that flexibility can be
stress-inducing, anxiety filled, and difficult to deal with, but
stepping outside of my comfort zone has helped me embrace the
adaptability of mission life.
That said, I couldn’t have been prepared for the curveball that was thrown at me when I arrived at Valley of the Angels.
Ever since I found out that I would be working at a boarding school
everyone has asked if I would be teaching. Every time my response was
the same—“No.” When I was younger I liked to play school in my basement
with the overhead projector my sister received for Christmas one year,
but I got bored easily and would give up after a few minutes.
I would get anxious in college when my friends majoring in education
would talk about lesson plans and classroom management. My whole life I
have had incredible teachers who have inspired me and whose value I
recognize, but teaching was never a path I wished to pursue.
Proverbs 16:9 says, “We can make our plans, but the Lord determines
our steps.” Some might translate this loosely to “we make plans and God
laughs.” I made plans to do anything but teach on mission, but God
determined through an outbreak of chicken pox and a pregnant English
teacher that I would be teaching English to second and fifth graders.
Amidst these struggles I find a sense of joy within me. Joy at the
ability to embrace my fears of flexibility. Joy in the challenge to do
something I never thought I would be capable of doing. And most of all
joy in the smiles and hugs I receive from my students every time I walk
into the classroom, or every time they see me around Valley. While the
plans I made seemed like the best path for me, I am glad that God opened
my heart to His plans.