Missions in the Midst of A Storm
KEENE, TEX. – Growing up immersed in the small, college-town life of Keene, Deanna Camacho felt comfortable in her choice to attend Southwestern Adventist University (SWAU). After all, that’s what her friends were doing. Yet, it would take a category five hurricane in a different country for her to realize that SWAU was more than just a comfortable choice. For Camacho, the decision to study at SWAU was an active choice to follow God’s calling in her life.
Spending the rest of her childhood in Keene made the town a familiar home. When it came time to attend college, she followed her friends and decided to stay local, pursuing a nursing degree at SWAU in 2013. At the time, all Camacho cared about was “having fun and living the college life.”
Yet, after a few semesters, things didn’t feel right to Camacho. At that time, she believed it was in her best interest to live in Puerto Rico with her grandfather and continue to pursue her nursing education there.
Little did she realize, a move to Puerto Rico could not have come at a more dangerous time. In 2017, Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico, destroying the island and leaving Camacho, along with many others, heartbroken. “I wouldn’t have lived if it wasn’t for God’s protection,” she says.
Due to the unfortunate storm, Camacho moved back to Keene in 2018 and felt she needed to change her path in life. Returning to SWAU, Camacho knew she wanted things to be different. This time, she chose to come back for herself, starting a new degree in Radio-TV-Film. Coming back, she says, “If God wasn’t in control of my life, I wouldn’t be where I am today.”
Camacho also got involved with and got to know the members of Spiritual Life and Development (SLAD), where she learned more about what it means to be a student missionary.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Camacho felt that God was calling her overseas to be a student missionary. Camacho graduated from Southwestern Adventist University in August of 2020 with her Bachelor of Science degree in Communications with an emphasis in Radio-TV-Film. Soon after, Camacho packed her bags and left to follow God’s calling in Korea where she currently teaches kindergarten.
Most, if not all, of her students do not come from a Seventh-day Adventist home. “Being able to teach them about God means the world to me and them wanting to know more keeps me going,” she states.
Through this experience, Camacho has been able to gain a strong relationship with God and a better understanding of the workplace, and how to connect and network with people.
When Camacho returns, she plans to use the knowledge and passion she has gained as a student missionary to work hard and serve her community and hopefully one day own a film studio of her own.
Going through a major storm and learning to pursue God has put much in perspective for Camacho. She has seen God moving in her life as she stepped out of her comfort zone and will continue to lean on Him.
To learn about how SWAU integrates service across the learning experience, visit SWAU.edu/slad.
By Kaitlyn Lively