Big Dreams from a Small City

Missionary Stephen Carrier

You can be anything you want to be, even president of the United States, if you set your mind to it and work hard.” I heard these words growing up and took them directly to heart. President of the United States. Big dreams for a boy from a small city.
And yet those dreams of mine were real. Ever since I was a teenager, I knew that I was destined to be the next big thing in American politics. I came up with a plan to reach my goals and then pursued it with my whole heart.
Along the way, I got to work in a restaurant with a dishwasher named Enrique. Enrique was from Mexico, and he was my favorite dishwasher there because he was always so nice and just did his job. I was able to practice my high school Spanish with him and he would nod and laugh. Since I went to a small Christian school growing up, Enrique was really the first Spanish-speaking person with whom I came into frequent contact. I remember thinking how, if everybody from Latin America was like Enrique, then everybody from Latin America was fine by me.
Later, I had to take a couple of Spanish classes at my university, and one of the teachers challenged us to go to a Mexican restaurant and order off the menu in Spanish. I decided I was going to do that. As nervous as I was and as ridiculous as I felt, I managed to get the point across to the waiter. To my surprise, the server actually liked it! The next thing I knew, I was friends with half the staff at that restaurant and others. 
The Holy Spirit worked greatly in my life over the next year or so, and I surrendered my life to Christ and foreign missions when I was twenty years old. Through various circumstances, God let me interact with several people from Latin America. I loved their friendliness and the way they treated me like family. There is still something so special about the way their faces light up when I begin to speak in Spanish to them. It wasn’t long before I knew that this was the group of people God wanted me to reach for Him. These were my people, the ones God had given me to love. And how I do love them!
Ultimately, God has led me to Chile. But He could’ve taken me anywhere in Latin America and I would have absolutely loved it.
Maybe I could have been the president. But I know what I would’ve missed out on. I would’ve missed out on friendships with people from Latin America that are more valuable than money can buy. I would’ve missed out on learning a completely different culture full of people with open hearts who want to be a friend. 
And I would’ve missed out on the opportunity to tell those same people about the Jesus I know and serve, Who can save them from their sins. 
Did I sacrifice something to do what I’m doing? Maybe. But I wouldn’t trade what I’ve gained for anything in this world.
Not even for being the president of the United States.

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