Saturday, September 26, 2009

Africa or Bust

In 6 short days I will be going on the trip of a lifetime to Nairobi, Kenya. Excitement doesn't even come close to what I'm feeling. It is hard to explain but I have had a heart for Africa since I was a very young girl. I knew God was calling me there from an early age and was just waiting for the right time. I kept putting it off because we didn't have the money and we had small children and the list goes on....I felt like I kept having to put God off on what He was asking me to do. So as you know, this past year I prayed for God to use me and that whatever He asks of me, I would do. Well two kids later and I'm on my way to Africa:) I decided that there is no reason that God would think good enough if I was essentially telling him no. I prayed for a long time about if this was really His will for me to go and not just a dream of my own. I went to church one evening by myself and sat in the dark quiet sanctuary and told Him He was going to have to give me big signs so I would know. Right after walking out of the sanctuary, I saw a book on the counter about Kenya. I opened it up to a random page and it talked about things that are my passions. HMMM i thought. I then went into my bible study where one of the ladies used to be a missionary in Kenya and is helping lead this trip. I told her my prayer and she got very quiet and said, "that's interesting because we were told to pray about one person we would ask to go on this trip and to write that name down, I wrote yours." Tears, chills. Thank you, God. I am going to Kenya!

I am on the team staying in the Mathare Slum which is one of the largest slums in Africa. We will be bringing food to homes and just praying for people. We will put on a VBS for about 200 kids for four days and we are putting plexiglass windows in the roofs of their homes so they have a source of light during the day. We are giving shoes and socks to children who have never had any. We are doing some health screenings and AIDS/HIV education. The area we will be in has 40% of their adult population infected with HIV. We will be visiting the bush area of the Massai people that are very tribal and remote. Part of our team is doing a medical mission their. We are spending the last two days of our trip on a wild animal safari on the plains. It will be a dream come true for me. I still can't believe it is happening.

I am scared in a way of what it will do to me. I am already very passionate about Africa and the struggles it faces. I am already passionate about social justice issues and cry at the drop of a hat for those causes. I am afraid of how much it will haunt me. I am afraid of what God will call me to do about it and just knowing what that will be. I am afraid of the sadness and the hopelessness. I am afraid.

I am not excited about traveling 30 hours one way. I am not excited about the suffering I will see. I am not excited that I won't be able to bring all these children home with me. I am not excited about how small the dent is that we will make. I am not excited about feeling helpless and overindulgent. I am not excited about the trash and the human waste and the thousands of people in a small place and the smells that are a part of all of that. I am not excited about the lack of clean water and electricity and sacrifices I will have to make for just two short weeks. I am not excited.

I am thrilled to be doing what God's will is for my life. I am thrilled to see the beauty that Africa holds. I am thrilled to be able to see the joy and hope in the children's eyes. I am thrilled to bring the love of Jesus to so many. I am thrilled to hold the hand of a woman dying of AIDS. I am thrilled to love on a baby that is malnourished. I am thrilled to provide food and light and hope and love. I am thrilled.

I am sad to leave my family. I am sad to miss a field trip with Noah and Ava. I am sad to miss Grace and Noah's games. I am sad to sleep apart from my husband. I am sad that my kids will be sad. I am sad.

I am joyous that I am showing my children how to love Jesus and others. I am joyous that they will see firsthand how to serve. I am joyous that they are learning that sometimes it is hard and we have to sacrifice to make the right choices in this world. I am joyous that my husband supports me on this journey 100% and that after we brought two more children into our family, he still said go. I am joyous that he can handle our crew and is a wonderful dad. I am joyous that God provided for this trip. I am joyous.

I am going to keep a journal while I'm gone and will post it when I return. I am in charge of the blog for our entire group so we are hoping to have electricity at least part of the time so we can post some. The website for that is below so you can check in there.

I can think of hundreds of words to describe what I'm feeling but none seem to quite measure up. So many thoughts and emotions. So many little worries as a momma leaving her nest. So much thankfulness for the people who have supported this trip in prayer and finances. I am scared and excited and not excited and thrilled and sad and joyous....all of those things. I am going to Africa!

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