Some people have a higher calling. Tonya Eza ’96 has answered hers, and she is now a missionary for the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. Here’s what she told Middkid.com!
What did you study at Middlebury and what have you done since you left?
I majored in German while at Middlebury and my concentration was in religion, specifically Christianity and Judaism. After I graduated, I worked for General Tours in Keene, NH, as a reservations agent for two years. In the fall of 1998 I became a missionary to Taiwan with the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, and am now teaching Bible and English as a second language as my main duties.
What did you learn at Middlebury that impacted your professional experience the most?
How to be accepting of people who are very different from me. Also, when I went into the Career Office and the counselor gave me a personality test–it helped me see where my strengths and weaknesses lie, and that has helped me adjust whenever things have changed in my job.
If you were to offer a few words of wisdom to a Middlebury student aspiring to be a missionary, what would they be?
Well, if you want to go into a customer service job like being a reservations agent, learn patience. Most of the American public has not been educated at good schools like Middlebury, and it will definitely show up in conversations! If you want to be a missionary, again the most important thing is to learn patience, and tolerance of a culture different from yours! Living in a different culture has humbled me many times when I try to speak a language very different from my own, and it has been wonderful to have people be so patient with me when I try, which is very different from the American attitude towards someone who can’t speak English well. Be tolerant and be patient!