One hundred miles north of Los Angeles lays the city of Santa Barbara, California. For now– I call this place home, however; if God wills it I will transcend the California coast life and call Guatemala a temporary home. My name is Jonathan Flores and I just graduated from the University of California at Santa Barbara. One of the biggest things I left college with, besides a broad education, is a stronger Christian faith. In a college that is notoriously known for it’s heavy partying, I found myself asking the question a lot of 18 year olds ask themselves: Where do I fit in? Some choose sports, fraternities, or clubs that they avidly attend. While those activities are not in any way all bad, I found myself asking the same question, “where DO I fit in?” I was blessed to have a group of friendly guys invite me to a residence hall bible study and they didn’t just want numbers for attendance, they wanted to invite me to be part of what they were doing. In short, they were part of a Christian organization on campus that desired to give every student the opportunity to know Jesus Christ.
It wasn’t much later that I got involved with this community of faithful college students who desired to be “missional”. Knowing God personally through His word really helped me understand what it meant to be on mission for Him. The bible opens up with a union (Adam and Eve) and ends in a union (Jesus and his followers, the “bride”), and God since eternity has always been God the Father. He is Father to many sons and daughters and this is seen through the covenant that God has made through the death of Jesus Christ. The cross not only forgives us from sin, but it also restores us to have a relational life with God. By the grace of God we can live by this beautiful truth, but in no way are we to stay idle. God has a mission for all his followers, and that is that we share the gospel of Jesus Christ with everyone.
This idea of being missional on campus and in my surrounding community became very important to me, not only because I wanted everyone to know the love and freedom that is found through Christ Jesus (John 6:27), but also because I wanted to share my life as a testimony of the powerful work that God does through his sons and daughters and how He yearns this for every living person. While praying about possible post-college jobs, I prayed about being on mission for God. I went to an event at a local church and saw pictures of a group who had gone to Guatemala. I saw pictures of homes being built and the poor being loved on. My heart sank and that night I prayed for the people of Guatemala. I am a first generation American of Guatemalan parents, however, I am not familiar with the country or its needs. I understood how I can serve in Guatemala and knew I had to pray about going on missions there. Matthew 25:40 says, “The King will reply, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine you did for me.” God loves his children despite their backgrounds and this verse helped me see how I can be used by God to serve the people of Guatemala.
If you ask me today, where I fit in, I will firmly tell you that my identity is found in Jesus Christ and I am praying about bringing the gospel and love of Jesus Christ to Guatemalans.