Final Words from Benji Nicholas

A lot can happen in a year.

One year ago I had recently graduated from Harding University with a degree in Spanish and Missions. I was looking forward to an exciting new year spent with Team Arequipa. However, I didn’t know exactly what I was getting myself into, and I mean that both in the sense of how I would be filling my days and with all the events that would happen over the next year. In the past year, I have come to love this city and culture, improved my Spanish skills, been in the midst of two missionary families transitioning back to the States, lived alone for the first time, eaten incredible arequipeño food, learned how to cook (kind of), avoided rabies, learned I was allergic to the rabies vaccine, climbed a volcano, seen a world wonder, read a few impactful books, learned how to share my faith, worked with house churches, come to a better understanding of what holistic ministry is, seen the various parts of what makes CUDA a great NGO and ministry, and experienced what life as a missionary could be like -- and I could keep listing things all day.

But this last point of learning more about what life as a missionary could be like is what I want to zoom in on. God’s work and mission in this world have been going on a long time before I arrived on the scene, so this experience has humbled me and showed me how small of a part I actually play. However, this should not leave me discouraged, but it should help me realize the bigger picture that I am a part of. And I believe every believer has this responsibility to be a missionary wherever we are and to be announcing the goodness of God’s kingdom with our actions and our words.

The next phase of my life will consist of starting my full-time studies for a Master of Divinity in Memphis, TN. The work God is doing in the lives of people I met in Arequipa will continue, but I hope to continue to take what I have learned about living missionally and apply that to wherever I am at the time. Wherever I am in the world, that is my mission field. Though I do hope to return to South America as a full-time, long-term missionary, if I do not recognize that the person down the street is also my mission field, then I’ve missed the point as to what God’s mission in the world is: rescuing all of humanity from the oppressive power of evil and bringing us into the kingdom of his Son.

It has been an incredible opportunity to work with and learn from Team Arequipa, and I would like to thank them all for the time and energy they have invested in my experience this past year. ¡Dios les bendiga en todo!