Missioner Hady Mendez reflects on a recent decision and upcoming transition. 

It’s true I decided to go back home to the U.S. this December at the end of my two-year contract with Franciscan Mission Service. It’s hard to describe how I feel: happy, excited, sad, and nervous, all wrapped into one.

I’m happy because I finally get to be stateside with family and friends. I will be able to speak English most of the time! I will be able to eat so many of the things I’ve missed while I’ve been here: yummy donuts, savory Thai food, and sweet berries, just to name a few. I will be able to wash my mouth with water from the faucet. And I will be able to turn on the stove by just switching the dial. AMAZING.

Most of my excitement comes from the fact that I don’t know what I’ll be doing (or where) when I return. I have no idea what my job will be, where I will live, what my schedule will be, where I will go to church, what I will do for fun. It’s all open. Yet to be defined. I’ll be starting over and that is super-exciting to me.

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Hady and her “little sister” she has been meeting with in Cochabamba.

One thing I know for sure is that I would like to continue to work with women and children. The work I’ve done here has confirmed for me that empowering women is where it’s at for me. I get a lot of satisfaction from this type of work. And even though I’ve never formally been trained to motivate people, it is a skill that comes naturally to me. When I think about a life of service, I think about using the gifts has given to me and putting them to the best use possible.

I’m sad when I think about leaving. I have two very good missioner friends who will not be going home in December. My heart breaks when I think they will still be here and I will be leaving. We have been through so much together. It seems like I’m abandoning them in a way. Saying good-bye is going to be so hard.

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Missioners friends in Cochabamba

Then there are my Bolivian friends and family. The people who have made me feel at home here. Who have welcomed me into their homes and lives. Who have cared for me and who have taught me valuable life lessons. I don’t know how I will say good-bye to them. They have come to be such an important part of my life. They have loved me in spite of the ways I fall short. They have been so generous with what little they have. They have taught me that we can all be rich, and yet, not have a lot of money. I have learned KINDNESS from my Bolivian family and friends.

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Hady dressed up with friends and coworkers to dance at someone’s goodbye party

Finally – I joke about it with my friends but it’s a fact – I’m homeless and jobless. This part, although exciting, also makes me a little nervous. What if I can’t find a job and I run out of savings? What if I can’t find a place I can afford to live in? What if the work I desire does not come to me?

There is where trusting God’s plan for me really comes in. If I go all the way back to my decision to come on mission, I had NO IDEA what God had in store for me. I just felt called and I came. I knew he would provide. I knew without a shadow of a doubt that I would not go hungry, that I would not suffer any hardships that I couldn’t get past, and that no matter what happened, God would be by my side.

So here we go again. I know God has a plan for me. A wonderful, marvelous plan. And even though I don’t know what it is, my role is two-fold:

  • To stay out of God’s way
  • To trust in Him and enjoy the ride

As always, your prayers and words of encouragement are welcome. The journey is far from over, and I welcome your company as I transition to life back home.

In the meantime, please continue to read my blog posts, follow me on Facebook, and look out for my bi-weekly emails as I share the experiences of my last five months here. I’m sure there’s more God wants me to learn during my time here and maybe there will even be a few surprises. God is funny that way. And I am learning to laugh along with him.

Hady and other missioners in a "photo booth" at an event.

Hady and missioner friends in a “photo booth” at an event.

SEE YOU IN DECEMBER!