Jonah Wahl wants to serve on the foreign mission field one day and impact the world for Christ. For now, though, he is listening for God’s call as he finishes up his freshman year at Johnson University.

“I’ve been feeling the call for missions for a while now,” Wahl said. “I do want to do something with missions, but it’s so broad, so I’m not exactly sure what I want to do.”

Wahl wants to leave room for God to work,  but he feels like his ability with the Spanish language may lead him to serve in a Hispanic culture. He has decided to take classes in the Latin American/Latino Studies track of the Intercultural Studies Program.

“I took four years of Spanish in high school, and it was just so easy for me,” Wahl said.

Wahl converses fluently in Spanish with friends who speak the language and says that his fluency, coupled with a love for Hispanic culture, has led him to an interest in Guatemala. He spent his spring break there this year with For the Love of Missions, an organization which seeks to equip Guatemalans for success in all areas of life. Wahl likes the concept of serving long term to personally impact lives.


Jonah Wahl smiles for the camera while riding a vehicle in Guatemala.

“I don’t think that I’m called to do direct relief ministry,” Wahl said, “more like developmental kind of stuff.”

Whereas direct relief ministry constitutes reactionary missions, such as providing supplies after an earth quake, developmental ministry emphasizes service in every aspect of life. While direct relief does fill a need, FLM specified on it’s website that it focuses on developmental missions.

“Our goal is balance of the 4 sided person,” the website stated, “bringing growth spiritually, physically, emotionally and mentally.”

Wahl finds excitement in the potential for working with a mindset of relationship similar to that held by FLM, and wants to be instrumental in providing for all areas of need in the lives of the people he serves. Wahl listed off examples of the work he imagined he might participate in one day.

“Teaching about health and sexually transmitted diseases, getting people a reliable source of food,” Wahl said, “teaching them how to farm, education…”

As Wahl continues to study in his area of interest, he feels the Intercultural Studies program is laying a foundation for relational developmental missions.

“It’s vital to have relationships with people,” Wahl said. “You don’t want people to know you as that rich American that only comes when relief is needed.”

Wahl plans to return to Guatemala at some point for an internship with FLM as he continues to seek and prepare for God’s specific calling.


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