Perhaps I could have gone to China. This is something I tell myself from time to time when I look back on the way my life has gone. In the summer before my last semester, I spent three weeks in China, working in a university and attending English conversation meetings. My time there served to confirm my calling to missions and I left sure I would return after I finished my last semester.
The first challenge was convincing my parents that it was a good idea. My mother's first response was something like, "Absolutely NOT!" But she finally calmed down and didn't want to hinder what I felt led to do so she accepted it, though she wasn't too happy about it.
Then, I found out that I was about 1 week too late to turn in an application with the IMB and be able to begin my assignment as soon as I left. I could wait to begin the process about 3 mos. later, but I wanted to be there right away. I emailed the man we had been working with, and he welcomed me to come on my own; he would find a teaching job for me and all would be well. However, I was still uneasy about taking such a big step without an organization backing me. I talked with a professor and he assured me that if I waited, there would still be lost people in China, and God would use someone else in the meantime to do his work.
In the end, all the various (though not overcomable) challenges led me down a different direction. First, I worked with a ministry in Arlington, learning more about local missions in 6 mos that I ever could have learned in school, then began working at GABC a few months later.
I often try to consider what my life would have been like if I had chosen to go to China. I have come to the conclusion that this was one instance where God opened two doors for me and would have blessed either one. If I had chosen to go to China, I think great things would have happened. By staying here, great things happened. Our God is big enough to work all things out for his glory, and so I am committed not to think "What if" but "perhaps." I don't want to live in regret that I did not go to China, but it is kind of interesting to think "perhaps" this would have happened if I had. I often think, perhaps I still would have ended up at GABC after returning from China and be on the same path I am on-or maybe not!