To the Editor,

This is an open letter to the Moral Courage Foundation.

This past year has been full of amazing experiences and opportunities. As an elementary education major with a Spanish minor, I have always loved languages and children. I have been taking Spanish classes since my freshman year of high school (minus a few semesters where it was not a possibility). Being able to speak another language has always interested me, but I soon realized that if I really wanted to become fluent, then I needed to go to a country where I would be forced to speak Spanish around the clock.

I wasn’t sure how it was going to work, and I looked extensively for a mission-type trip that would also be accepted by Texas Tech as a college-credit course. However, God had other plans in mind. I found an organization that sent college students to other parts of the world to do mission work and then worked with the U.S. college to make it into a class that would transfer back to the states as college credit. But when I presented the option to Texas Tech, they said no. I remember calling my mom and starting to cry. I wanted to be honoring to God, and I felt that going overseas and learning Spanish was something that I was supposed to do. But I didn’t understand why my search for a Christian organization that Texas Tech would work with was coming up empty. My mom reminded me that sometimes missionaries have to go to language school and maybe this was a point where I needed to focus on learning as much Spanish as I could and do a Language Study Abroad Program that Texas Tech offered while keeping the possibility in mind that perhaps I would go on a trip specifically designed for missionary work at a later date.

For the month of June, I had the opportunity to live with a host family in Costa Rica while taking two advanced level Spanish courses at the Latina University. It was an amazing experience. Eight other U.S. students and I went to class every morning from 7:30-11:10 and had a final or mid-term almost every week. I learned so much during my time there and when I was outside of the classroom, I got to practice using the language almost all day long. There were times that I felt lonely, and times that I was frustrated with my lack of knowledge, but I cannot explain how great of an experience it was. It opened my eyes to what the people of Costa Rica experience from day to day, and it showed me a different culture and lifestyle. One of the neatest things though, was that I went into the month praying and asking God, “What is it that you are wanting me to do here?” I had the opportunity to talk to the family that I was living with as well as others about God. If I had gone to Costa Rica through a missionary organization, I would not have met this family and gotten to witness to them. God has been revealing to me that I have the opportunity to be a witness for Him wherever I go, and that sometimes, I may have “good” plans, but His are far better. I got to share with this family about God and I believe that was His will for me to be there. One day I may have the opportunity to be a missionary in another country and use the Spanish that I have learned, but the cool thing is, that even though I didn’t go on a specified “mission trip,” in way, it was a mission trip. No matter what situation or whatever country we are in, including the United States, we can be a witness and a light for Christ.

God showed me so many things throughout this trip. He showed me more about Himself, and He gave me the amazing opportunity to learn Spanish. I cannot say how thankful I am for the many opportunities that he has provided and it is true that it has been Him who has provided. I could not have gone to Costa Rica on my own means and on my own strength. He helped provided the money and the courage, and I am so thankful that He did.

As this next year approaches, I look forward to seeing what God has in store. Thank you for all of your support throughout these years as God works to draw us more and more to Himself. I hope that the video has been going well. I know that I have said this before, but I really mean it: please, please let me know if there is any way that I can be of help to the Moral Courage Foundation.

Tiffany Neal,

Moral Courage Scholarship recipient