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My First Month as a Missionary: A Photo Essay

My First Month as a Missionary: A Photo Essay

SEPTEMBER 27, 2021   |   3.5 MINUTE READ

Answering God’s call on your life is exciting, and it often takes courage. When you’re called to missions work, answering the call can include moving to a new culture, meeting new people, and developing new relationships. Sometimes it includes learning a new language and getting used to a different climate, too! In June 2021, Hannah Johnson moved to Asunción, Paraguay, to serve as a teacher at Asunción Christian Academy and take the next step in her missions journey. See what life is like for her as a new missionary.

Four adults wearing masks posing for a photo in a large building, possibly an airport.

Moving to a new country takes a lot of dependence on God and a lot of support from those who are being left behind. During training, I learned about the importance of leaving well. This included writing letters to close friends and family, letting them know how much they mean to me and how much they will be missed.

Looking from a porch, through the rain, at two vehicles parked beside a one-story building

Upon arriving, I met the WGM Paraguay team and went to stay at the guesthouse until I was able to move into my apartment. I got to meet a few of the people I will be doing ministry with.

A three story red and tan building with a tree in front of it

Once I arrived in my apartment, I met more people who quickly became my community. They showed me around the school’s campus where I will be working and the grocery stores that are close to our apartments.

Meat on a grate over smoldering embers in a large outdoor fireplace

During the first weekend I was here, my new friends held an asado to welcome those of us coming and say goodbye to those of us going. Asado is a traditional barbeque meal that involves sitting around and chatting while feasting on meat prepared on one of these grills.

An arched doorway with tan brick trim with a white metal security grid with keypad covering the glass, entryway.

As I was moving in, it seemed like anytime I needed anything, someone would knock at my door with that exact thing. For example, it was supposed to get cold one night, and I mentioned it to my dad on the phone. I also mentioned probably needing another blanket. I wasn't even off the phone before someone knocked and said, "I was just thinking you might need this for tonight," with a heavier blanket in her hands. God was providing in the little things.

Looking down into a toilet tank with the lid removed.

My second week proved to be more difficult, as the honeymoon excitement began to wear off and I began to settle into "everyday" life. I learned to wait for buses for as long as it took, how to light a gas stove with a match every time you turn the burner off, how to fix a leaky toilet, and other things that take just a little more effort.

Hannah in a vehicle with two people

However, God also provided life-giving conversations and people to teach me the easiest way to accomplish the not-as-easy tasks. I was and continue to be thankful for the community here.

Thirteen people eating around three tables outside on a green lawn

The WGM Paraguay team met together to welcome the Sosa family for a quick vision trip to see what life is like here in Asunción. Our conversations were rich with the ways that God had brought us all together for this moment. This experience was definitely stretching for me, since they primarily communicate in Spanish. However, it was a good opportunity to practice what I had learned.

Two adults and two elementary aged children playing child's board game

I also had the opportunity to play board games with a nine-year-old friend for hours while her parents talked with other missionaries. My heart was so full in this moment; while I couldn’t speak the same verbal language, I was able to speak to her heart. She even brought one of the board games to church with her in the morning to show her friends in Sunday School.

If you have ever tried to speak another language, you understand how important it is to be able to laugh in the not knowing. Laughter is universal. I began taking online Spanish classes four days out of the week through a school local to Asunción. Many days my profe (professor) and I laugh at her acting words out, or me not understanding, or even some of the words I need to know.

Each step of this journey has challenged me in a new way: learning a new language, being able to laugh at myself, learning to navigate a new country on my own, making friends with someone I can’t communicate fluently with, and, most importantly, relying on God more every day. Things are not always easy, but I can rest knowing God is always good. I have had to dive deeper to seek the daily renewal I need from the Lord.

As the school year begins and I start the ministry God has given me, I am reminded of how He has provided already. I look forward to seeing how God continues to use this time to grow me and to impact the ministry going on here in Paraguay.


PRAY: Lift up Hannah as she continues to settle in Paraguay. Pray that God will continue to provide what she needs to serve Him and those in the community around her. Ask the Lord to bless the rest of her missions team, as well as other new missionaries just beginning their service around the world.

GIVE: Do you want to help Hannah be the hands and feet of Jesus to others? Visit her page on our website to partner with Hannah and see how you can join her on her mission to impact lives in Paraguay.

GO: Like Hannah, do you have a heart to serve cross-culturally? We’d love to come alongside you and help you answer the calling God has placed on your heart. Check out our impact map to see your opportunities for serving with WGM.

Author Bio: Hannah Johnson has a passion for teaching students at Asunción Christian Academy how to love to learn (academic) and learn to love (spiritual). God has been paving her path to missions for a long time, and she’s excited to take this next step in the journey. You can sign up for email updates from Hannah to learn more about what God is doing in Paraguay.

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