Backpack on, suitcase in hand, I walked toward the exit of Bangkok International Airport. As the glass doors slid open, the humidity smothered me like a steamy wool blanket, stealing the air from my lungs. I gasped for breath. My gasp, however, quickly changed from one of asphyxiation to one of utter disbelief. I thought to myself, What have I done?
That morning, I was having breakfast with my family. Today they were 7,500 miles away, across the Pacific Ocean. Yes, I knew what was happening when I waved goodbye at the departure airport in the U.S. But did I really know? As I stood at the door of the arrival airport in Thailand, the realization of what I was getting myself into this year threatened to suffocate me, just like the humid air filling my lungs.
Looking out at the city, I felt my senses become more overloaded by the second. Bright signs and buildings created a stark contrast to the night sky; somewhere in the distance, strange music was blaring; and all around me, people were rushing to envelop their friends and catch up on life. My brain hurt from all the noise and commotion. I could not understand a single word spoken, and I realized . . . . In this country of 71 million people, I knew no one.
Tired. Scared. Doubtful. I felt unqualified.
Me? Teach English? In Thailand? I was a mere college student. I had never taught. I was studying Biology, not English. I had never even left North America before. What made me think that I could ever do this? My list of excuses could have gone on and on.
If you have ever felt called to become a missionary, you might create your own list of excuses. Moses did. When the Israelites were slaves in Egypt, God called Moses to go and bring His people out. Instead of immediately obeying, Moses made his own list of why it wouldn’t work:
Moses said, “I’m just a shepherd.” God said, “I will be with you.”
Moses said, “They aren’t going to believe me.” God said, “I will be with you.”
Moses said, “I’m not eloquent. In fact, I’m slow of speech.” God responded with, “I will be with you, and I will send your brother to speak for you.”
Although we may not feel qualified, we are more than capable with God by our side. Paul says in 2 Corinthians 3:5, “Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God.”
As I left the Bangkok airport that day, I had to remind myself that it wasn’t about me. It was about my willingness to be used by God, my willingness to step outside of my comfort zone, make friends with the people around me, and share the love of Christ with them.
Millions of people all over the world still don’t know about God and His love for them. Jesus says He will be with you even to the end of the world. The question is not whether you feel qualified. The question is, are you willing to let God qualify you for the position He has in mind for you? Fear not! He is able to make you capable. He will be with you.