My dear, sweet daughter is my guest on my blog today. I have been asked over and over for her to write about her experience so here it is!
As I look back on these past few months, I am still a little numb. You see, when you experience God like we did in Africa, life returning to America can never be the same!
It only took a few seconds of holding a filthy, malnourished, orphan child on my lap and a glimpse into their eyes, to see I was helplessly IN LOVE! I have now realized that a piece of my heart will belong with them forever. Regardless of the thousands of miles of distance that separates us now.
I will back up a bit for you. I am the second oldest of 12 children. I consider my self average in almost every way. I STRONGLY emphasize my many weaknesses and struggles as an American teen whose daily battle is to be in the world but not of it. God called me at 5 years old to be a missionary and I did not know how I would get to that point, I just knew what He whispered in my heart. My trip to Africa only made me more broken and allowed for me to see how things that we think matter in daily life, just don't anymore.
My African journey began about a year ago. I was presented with the opportunity to spend 6 weeks in Malawi, Africa as a part of an intense and challenging discipleship training time at Kalibu Bible School. The first of many "miracles" for this journey was getting permission from my parents. It takes a lot of faith to send your barely 16 year old daughter on a plane flight to a destination over 30 hours away. Across an ocean to a dark continent filled with poverty and potential danger for 6 WEEKS. Knowing there will be undesirable living conditions and nobody even speaks the same language! But with God's mercy, He gave my parents the wisdom and faith to say yes! I am SO grateful for their obedience!
In 7 weeks, we raised $7000! That was a HUGE miracle! God provided EVERY bit of it! Years past, my parents might have been able to contribute more but it was not an option with my dad's job loss in the past year. I knew God was the one that would have to pave the way! We look back and think it had to literally come seeping through cracks in the walls! In other words, we can't trace all the money that came in! While we were IN Africa, people were STILL sending money to my home! We watched God do His work. We bought passports without any money to buy an airplane ticket and just kept believing God would provide at the right time. After we bought the tickets, we still did not have the living expense money! We just kept believing, God WOULD provide. And boy did He ever! I sometimes wondered if He would provide for ME. No, it was not always in MY ideal timing, or in the way that I would have chosen most of the time, but He abundantly provided all that we needed and more!
Looking back, the journey did not begin when I boarded the plane. It began when God was so faithfully present throught all the obstacles that got us to that point of boarding the plane. I remember peeking across the isle, and watching America disappear into the distance as we spent 9 hours flying over nothing but ocean. That was the point when I finally realized the everything about this trip is so massive. I as so small! I asked God to help me to remember my inadequacy as I rested in HIS ability.
After 30 hours of flight time spread over about 3 days, we finally arrived in Blantyre, Malawi. When I stepped off of the plane and onto dusty Malawian soil, I took a deep breath and my heart sang. I had NO idea what God had in store for the next 6 weeks! I was about to be stretched more than I ever would have thought possible. Yet I felt so alive. I had the unshakeable assurance that God had carried me that far and that surely He would carry me the rest of the way. This was where God had me. This is what I had prayed hours and hours for. I dreamed about it and at times wondered if I'd ever make it there, but I did. All the nerves were covered by my smile, as six weeks of the most challenging, incredible moments of my life began!
Stay tuned as I continue to write about my Journey to Africa...