Diego may not have been the smartest kid in his high school, but he was unquestionably the most determined. He graduated valedictorian with a solid 4.0, thirty college credit hours, a hefty scholarship, and absolutely no idea what he wanted to do with his life. With virtually all his basic courses out of the way, he was out of time to pick a major and beginning to panic fast when his uncle started reminiscing about his time as an exchange student in Madrid.
The more his uncle talked, the more interested Diego became. He was already bilingual. He could enter a community college in another country, gain some intercultural experience, and learn a third language while he was at it. His only memories overseas were from mission trips, though, so he called his pastor that evening at his wit’s end on how to pursue the idea. But his pastor immediately veered off in a strange direction, chattering about the international missionary team their church supports and their work near a university in their area.
“Pastor, pastor!” Diego finally interjected, “I’m not asking about being a missionary. I want to be an exchange student.”
“Oh,” his pastor said, “Did I not make that clear? You can be both.”
Six months later, Diego has settled comfortably into his new dorm room a continent away from home. He meets weekly with his home church’s missionary team to help plan outreaches and discipleship training, but his favorite part of his “job” is just getting to make friends with the students at his school. Word has spread quickly around the small campus that the odd-looking foreigner with the thick accent is excellent at soccer, happy to tutor in English, and has incredible stories about a man named Jesus.