On Wednesdays we are thrilled to fling open the doors to all of YOU! We love hearing your dreaming stories…the lessons you’ve learned, the roads you’ve walked, the dreams He’s planted in your hearts! Today we are excited to welcome Giana Hesterberg to God-sized Dreams. She reminds us of the importance of obedience in each step of our journey as we live out what God has called us to do. Thanks for being here today, Giana!
In order to understand present-day circumstances, sometimes we need to go back to where they all began. In the summer of 2001, I packed a small suitcase and backpack and ventured to Ningxia University in Yinchuan, China. Together with a group of students and leaders from Central College (my alma mater) and Drake University, China became our home for the next six weeks.
While there, we became Chinese. At least, that’s what it felt like in our souls. We lived, ate with, bathed with (read: communal showering equals social time, typically about two hours), laughed and cried with, and loved our Asian peers. Eating spicy noodles at the night market and drinking warm tea on a hot summer day became the norm.
Our schedules consisted of our Asian counterparts teaching us about Chinese culture and language, and we in turn taught them about American life. I was in charge of the lesson on American Literature, and checked out a few books from the library before going abroad. The day of our English lesson, I talked about Dr. Seuss and his influence on children’s literature. When I was done, I read aloud his book, What Was I Scared Of?, to the auditorium full of college students and adults.
In the style of my childhood teachers, I turned the book around and showed the audience pictures after every couple of pages. About halfway through the reading, I looked out into the crowd and they were completely silent—captivated by this children’s story! I looked around and immediately thought, “This is it. This is what I am meant to do with the rest of my life.”
On the flight back to the U.S., I decided I would declare my major that fall semester of my sophomore year: education.
I spent seven years in the public school system, teaching 5th, 6th and 7th grade. Though some years were more memorable than others, I never doubted I was exactly where I was supposed to be.
About 8 months after my firstborn son arrived, I resigned from teaching in order to stay home with him. My husband and I had decided towards the beginning of our courtship that I would stay home with our children when the time came. The reactions from my co-workers ranged from “Good for you!” to “Are you crazy?!”
Though being a full-time wife and mother took some adjustment, I never once regretted my decision. The past five years since resigning have been full of joy, gratitude, learning curves, frugality and plenty of milestones as I have spent every day, 24/7, with my three children. I also worked part-time, giving piano lessons and working for a local magazine. I thoroughly enjoyed both jobs and the supplemental income they brought in.
I knew the day would come when I would return to the classroom, but I was unsure when that would be, or what it would look like. Ever striving to keep the Lord and then my family first, I simply continued what I was called to do during that particular season of life.
Just this past Sunday, July 31st, the answer became clear. Our pastor began teaching a series on 2 Timothy, and encouraged us to “fan into flame the spiritual gifts God gave us,” (2 Timothy 1:6). The previous Sunday, when we were talking about calling, I had written on my comment card that “I’m called to speak, teach and write.”
Later that week, I was published on a major website for the first time! And yesterday, I was hired by VIPkid to teach ESL to Chinese students online! I would have never imagined another opportunity to work closely with the country and people I grew to love so much, long ago. But, praise be to “God, who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think.” (Ephesians 3:20)
The Lord knows why he has placed you where you’re at “for such a time as this.” (Esther 4:14b)
Photo Credit: Unsplash
Giana Gallardo Hesterberg is happily married to an amazing Man of God (who happens to be a pastor), and is the mother of three wonderful children. She is a teacher for VIPkid, a company that trains American educators in teaching ESL to Chinese students online. She makes her home, “On the Border, By the Sea,” in Brownsville, Texas. In her spare time, she enjoys writing, gardening, baking and connecting with other people. You can connect with Giana on her blog, Stories by the Seashore.
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