I think about change a decent amount, I suppose, but I often find that enacting change is much harder than thinking about it. Over the last few years I’ve contemplated moving, for instance. I miss friends in Raleigh and Cary and would enjoy being close to them. I have loved the trips I’ve taken to Colorado for work and could probably convince the boss to allow me to work from the Denver office. I even found such beauty in the Emerald Coast of Florida that I wondered what jobs were available in that area. That’s about as far as I got with any of those ideas. Thinking about moving is definitely much easier than actually doing it. There are always too many considerations: I own a house, I don’t want to be that far away from my sister and nieces, I don’t want to leave my friends in Charlotte, and the list could go on.

In the last couple of years of college and into my first few years of teaching, I used to feel a draw to Sudan. I’d come across articles about the terrible things happening to people there, it would come up in conversation, or I’d see blurbs about it on TV, and it always triggered a feeling inside of me that I needed to go there. I even pursued some possibilities for mission trips into Sudan. The draw to go there was like the draw of flying on one of the hurricane planes (which I’d do in a heartbeat if I ever got the opportunity – bring on a category 5, please). As no opportunities ever panned out, I eventually got distracted by life. Time marches on and so I did too.

On January 12, 2010, I was sitting at work taking my “smoke break” which for me involves 10 minutes of playing on Facebook. I happened upon the status of my friend Cindy Ely who works for a mission organization called SIM (Serving in Missions). Her status was talking about opportunities in Sudan. “That’s strange,” I thought to myself, “I haven’t felt that heart-prick about Sudan in a long time now. I wonder why?” I clicked on the link in Cindy’s status to see if any of the opportunities might prick my heart in the way I remembered.

I read through a few of the opportunities in Sudan and my internal response was, “Eh.” As I clicked through various ones, I happened to notice that one was listed in the job category of  “Business Ministries/Administration/Leadership.” I thought to myself, “Now there’s a category that sounds like me.” So, I clicked on it.

Much to my surprise, the opportunities on that page solicited a similar response to those I’d read about in Sudan: “Nah.” That is, until I happened upon one called “Guest House Hostess” in Bolivia. I read the description and thought, “I never knew such a job existed in missions.” I kept going a bit further and moments later I found myself completely enthralled with a position called “Guest House Manager” in Lima, Peru:

“If you enjoy providing hospitality and serving others, this is the role for you! SIM Peru is looking for a couple or single person to manage the guest house in Lima. All new missionaries arrive in Lima, and all missionaries departing for home assignment pass through Lima. You will have the opportunity to welcome and serve them during those first bewildering days in a new country or the break between the hellos and goodbyes of home assignment or final departure. In addition, many visitors pass through the guest house who appreciate practical help with travel, tourism, or seeing SIM ministries. There are many different ways in which this position contributes to the well-being of our missionaries and their visitors.”

To say that this position jumped off the screen at me would be an understatement. I knew immediately that I was going to have to follow up on what I’d found. I emailed my sister with the subject line of “Cool job” and simply asked “Will you come visit me if I move to Peru?” I pasted the link and sent it along. Within minutes came her response, “Awesome!  You should totally do that, and of course I’d come visit you.” She’s pretty straightforward.

I requested more information on that position from SIM and my initial reaction continued to hold true. I started a new Bible study that night and while we were introducing ourselves we had to share a fact that would help people remember us. I said, “Hi, my name is Robbye Fielden and today I decided that I’m moving to Peru.” In no way was I looking for a missionary position on that Tuesday in January, but I went to sleep that night with a confidence that I’d stumbled upon something big.