it's the night before I begin the journey to Africa. Tomorrow at noon, my team that's heading to MALAWI, AFRICA is meeting at the church to be prayed for, then hopping in two vans and driving down to Kansas City. Our first flight takes off from there at 5:49 pm to D.C. and we will over night there, until NOON the next day (June 7th) and leave D.C. for Ethiopia........we will arrive there at 7:45am the NEXT DAY (June 8th). Tylenol PM anyone?????? WOWZERS! Then we get on another plane that will take us to Malawi......and then our task begins!!!
Six weeks. That's how long I will be away from the love of my life, best friend, fiance, partner in crime, you fill in the blank- along with being away from family, best friends, running water, electricity, my bed, yummy cinnamon rolls (my favorite food ever), the pool, the gym, technology, the free will to go wherever, do whatever, see whoever, hang out with whoever, etc.
But hold it right there, every time I get a little "down", nervous, anxious, worried, etc about the above- I have to stop and counteract that thinking and 'slap myself' into remembering that every single one of those things are all blessings from God. Things that he has given me out of His gracious generosity. Things He can rip away from me at any given time no matter what, things that only bring temporary happiness and satisfaction, things that I often complain about or get frustrated with. I AM ON MY WAY to do the WILL OF GOD. To go and love what society deems "unloveable", the poor, the smelly, the hungry, the sick, the lost, the broken, the hurting, the lonely, the _________. After I slap some sillyness outta my thinking, I realize that obeying God is the most rewarding thing to do, the most satisfying, the most gratifying, the most fulfilling! SO HECK YAH I'll give up 40 some days to do my best at serving and trusting God the whole way!
Last week I ventured down to Kansas for a week of 'preparation" called "O-Week". (Orientation week) Although I can't go into detail about all that goes on down there (so that it's the best possible experience for anyone else that gets to experience it when they attend O-week), God rocked my world, as well as the Malawi team. I can't even put into words what that week teaches you. Jeepers creepers it was nuts.
Here's a sweet line that I came across during that week: "Most people think that being in the middle of God's will is the safest place to be. But rather, being in the middle of God's will is the BEST place to be." Meaning, God doesn't promise that obeying Him will be safe, fluffy, protected, peaceful, easy, enjoyable, free from error, frustrations, etc..........but He does promise He won't ever leave you, that if you let Him, He'll refine you to become closer to Him and more like Him.
When we hit Malawi, here is a very generalized, very vague- list/description of our itinerary (it's from our Gospel link contact and he's very brief as you'll see):
June 8ish- Land in Malawi
June 8-12: Staying with Booker the national director. We'll go to schools and do other outreach things with them.
June 12- 19: We'll be at the Gospellink Training Center in Suluwi
June 19-July 9 We'll go south to be with Thomas and his orphans and build the rice mill/shelter.
July 10-14: Camping/outreach. (spreading the good news!)
July 15: Departure for Iowa!
Doesn't give ya much, huh? HA! More to come when I return I guess!!
For our trip, we are able to be very open about why we're there. We don't have to hide our Bibles or whisper the name of Jesus, or be too afraid or so to speak of being persecuted for Christianity being illegal or anything. Does that make sense?
Here is a little tip we received from our Gospellink contact, "I would spend the next few weeks praying and preparing to share specific life messages. People need to hear how God has worked in your life in different areas of commitment or surrender. Often Africans think that people like us who live in the USA have no problems and no trials. Of course the opposite is true, so sharing about your personal sufferings reaches into their life. They have sicknesses, they have divorce and broken families. They need to hear answers that God has. Be prepared to share."
Kind of interesting huh? So be praying for that.......as well that these 8 values I took from "O-week" would be things I would cling to while being gone: Loyalty, Integrity, Worship, Flexibility, Trust in God, Initiative, Servant's heart, Team player.
Those probably make no sense to you other than the obvious, but lift those up to our Heavenly Father for my heart/team while there, God will know what you're talking about!! :)
ps- pray for my Beau and his honkin heart that will be missing me, just not as much as I will be missing HIM! :) Absence makes the heart grow fonder, right?!?!
love to ALL