Transformation in the Unexpected

Rwandan cityscape

At the beginning of January, I had the incredible opportunity to study development economics in Rwanda. For our course, we visited with government officials, nongovernmental organizations, for-profit businesses, schools, and health clinics. Throughout the trip, I got to see God work in my classmates’ lives. It was apparent that God was radically working in my friend Sydney’s life, and I am so excited now to share part of her story.

By choosing to do something new, Sydney witnessed the transformational power of God.

She said, “I know international business/missions/service is now what I am called to do. It was not until this last semester that God showed me a passion for this area that I never knew I had.

“I never would have known this passion and identified this calling inside of me if I had not tried something entirely out of my comfort zone in an area I knew nothing about.

“God had been developing this interest in economic development and service for months while studying, and going on the trip to Rwanda just confirmed it. I had never felt more alive and more confident in myself and what God could do through me.”

Sydney never expected to experience this calling, and when reflecting on the impact her trip had on her life, she said, “It is crazy to think and important for me to mention that this life of missions and development was not always a dream of mine. I was your typical business student who desired what everyone else said life was supposed to look like . . . work hard, climb the corporate ladder, make lots of money, and live happily and comfortably. This class and this trip rocked my world.

“God has been working hard on my heart and has entirely stripped all of my selfishness away in the process. Now, my heart’s deepest desire is to make the insignificant feel significant and to be the hands and feet of Jesus beyond borders. God has broken my heart for those who are hungry, for those who need water, and for those who need someone to love them and not come for only a week and leave.

“My heart feels most alive with children and being in community. I want to serve because I have surrendered my life to this calling. In studying economic development at my university, I am now eager to create change, even though there is no easy or right answer. We are called to do the best we can to help whoever needs it, and in the process, we are being sanctified.”

Sydney’s boldness before God has been so inspiring to me. In keeping with the words of Ephesians 3:12, she encourages others to pray and seek the Lord with freedom and confidence.

“If I had not been praying for my heart to align with His and been obedient to each small step God told me to take, I never would have arrived at the place I am at today. My heart is welling up every day with more love than I can even express for a people group that I have had such little interaction with already! I am in preparation for the day that the love inside of me can just explode over the people of East Africa.

“I would love support and your prayers more than anything! Remember that anything is possible with God and how important it is to only speak in faith. For me, this entire life change only happened in the last 6 months, which is actually unreal. When we embrace a life of saying yes and you see how near and active God really is, it becomes easy to be obedient. He is such an exciting God, and today is only the beginning!”

Emily Clark is a senior at Samford University and served as an intern with WMU’s editorial production hub.

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