Helping and growing personally during a mission in Bolivia
Bermudian Tatiana King is travelling the world, using her faith to make a difference.
The 20-year-old is now in Bolivia teaching science classes to primary and high school students and helping at an orphanage in the small town of Rurrenabaque.
She signed up, inspired by a trip to Haiti at 13 when she volunteered at an orphanage in Montrouis run by Feed My Lambs Ministry, the Bermudian-led Christian organisation.
“While in Haiti I saw that there were so many people in this world so much less fortunate than me,” said Ms King, who graduated with a health sciences degree from Southern Adventist University this year. “Growing up in Bermuda, we often take for granted the opportunities we’ve been given.
“I decided I wanted to make a difference and to bring some light into someone’s life. Hopefully, I can also use this time in Bolivia to grow as a person.”
The South American trip, organised by her alma mater, required training in areas such as safety, staying healthy and how to be an effective missionary.
“On top of that, there had been a lot of fundraising, but it’s all been worth it,” Ms King said. “I’m as ready as I’ll ever be.”
She grew up in the church and attended Bermuda Institute, the Southampton school run by the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
Her activities after school were also Christian-based, however she confessed she was “mainly about going through the motions and following the religion of [her] parents”.
Her faith became her own after she went to college.
“I was 16 years old, far from home and had no friends,” she said of her early experience at the university, also run by the Seventh-day Adventist Church. “I suddenly had so many choices and decisions right in front of me.
“I got involved in a Bible study with one girl I met at orientation and it changed my life.
“There were young people just like me, talking about God and making it relevant.
“This was now my faith, not just a ritual. And as an added blessing, those girls became my best friends.”
In her junior year, she was hit with three devastating incidents that tested her faith.
Her grandfather had a heart attack while driving his taxi and died; her best friend lost a battle with lupus, the autoimmune disease; her parents filed for divorce.
“It was a lot in a short amount of time and it really tested my faith,” she said. “At the time I wondered why all this was happening if God cared.
“But my friends were the ones who brought me through. Without their prayers and faith I wouldn’t be where I am today.
“I thank God every day for my sisters in Christ. They are truly angels on earth.”
She’s hoping the next year in Bolivia will further deepen her relationship with God.
“Our Christian journey is never a single straight path,” she said. “There are bumps along the way and detours we make.
“I hope that my faith continues to grow so that when the storms do come, I’m not worried because I know someone’s holding my hand until I reach the other side.”
She encourages young people to be confident in their faith.
“It’s hard to be a young person of faith when all the people around you are living completely different lives,” said Ms King. “But surround yourself with Godly friends, who will uphold and support you in your time of need.”
Despite her work abroad, she doesn’t believe it’s necessary to travel to make a difference as there are many ways people can help here — at a nursing home, serving food at a soup kitchen or tutoring children after school.
“Anyone can make a difference; you just have to take the first step and God will guide you through the rest,” she said.
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