This is the third in a series of blogs written by alumni of the Student.Go program. This year Student.Go is celebrating 10 years of providing summer and semester missions service opportunities for college and graduate students in locations all over the world.
This blog is written by written by Dalia Tobar Baurichter who served through Student.Go in Detroit, MI in 2004 and in Miami, FL in 2005 and 2006.
I felt called to ministry when I was 17 years old. I figured that all real ministers do mission work in third world countries so I figured I would do the same. I never really considered North America as a mission field.
All of my thoughts changed one day while I was sitting in a college course called International Social Work. My teacher applauded the class for our desire to go to poorer countries and work, but she challenged us to try to do the same thing here in North America before we went overseas.
Needless to say I wasn’t thrilled at the idea. I grew up in the inner-city in one of the biggest government housing complexes in Quebec and hated it. I saw it as a dirty ugly place where there were a lot of single-parent households and many uneducated, poor people. Frankly I couldn’t wait to get out of there.
After a lot of prayer, though, I accepted my teacher’s challenge to serve in North America. So one afternoon I searched for summer mission opportunities in North America and came across CBF’s website. I applied to Student.Go and spent the summer of 2004 in Detroit.
It was a summer that truly changed my life! I absolutely fell in love with the community where I was working and I realized that I didn’t need to go very far to find loneliness, war, homelessness, prostitution, drugs, hunger, and poverty (both financially and spiritually). It was a great experience for me to work alongside CBF field personnel who placed an equal emphasis on evangelism and outreach.
After that summer, I chose to do my social work field placement in that same government housing complex where I grew up. For the first time, I saw it as a beautiful, sacred place.
Once I graduated from college, I moved to Miami to do urban ministry (once again through Student.Go). My goal was to spend a year there, learn as much as I could about urban ministry and come back to Quebec to implement what I had learned. After that year, however, I realized that God wanted me to remain in Miami and continue the work He had called me to do. I stayed there an additional four years. I am now working as a social worker in North Carolina while my husband attends seminary, but we plan to move to back to Florida once he graduates.
It’s crazy to think it all started with one summer in Detroit 7 years ago! I am forever grateful to Student.Go and for the opportunities they gave me. I strongly encourage every young adult to spend a summer or a semester (or hey! five years!) doing mission work whether it’s overseas or local. You will not regret it.