Tuesday, November 10, 2015
Feeling a tug back to Africa......
I remember that we saw her walking along the road as we were driving to the church (I use that term very loosely since it was just a small mud hut). She was holding the smallest child in her arms and had that slightly bigger child strapped to her back in that scarf you see wrapped around her. When she finally showed up at the meeting (after we had been there about an hour), she told the translator that she had come because she heard that we might have pencils. She badly needed a pencil to go to school. This little nine year old girl had walked a LONG, LONG way to come to this meeting, in the hopes of getting a pencil. The hope of a pencil was enough for her to carry her younger siblings, over dusty, dirty roads and through rough fields, a far distance, on a very hot day. As you can see in the picture, she got her pencil!
So much about this trip changed my life. In some ways it was reaching that destination.... finally getting to that promised place from my young childhood when a missionary had stamped my bible and declared "someday you will be a missionary". In reality, it was just the beginning. I began that trip believing that I had a message to share with the children (which I had) but I ended that trip knowing that my heart and deep desire was to speak that same message to the ADULTS so that they would understand the heart of Jesus for the CHILDREN! Over the next few years, that desire to impact the children by reaching the adults, grew and deepened. But I never really had a platform to share what was so firmly planted into my spirit. Years went by, and I began to lose hope and to doubt that this was even something I was supposed to do! The dreams continued to come. That feeling that there was more ahead, well, it never left me. I had left a part of my heart in Africa. And Jesus was not letting me forget it!
When I returned from Africa I realized that my "eye sight" had changed. I had a totally different view of my world. I saw the wealth of our country in a new light. The amount of resources that were available around every corner. The quality of our educational system. The opportunities our children have. How much water we have and how much water we waste. How good our internet access is and how good our cell phone service is. But I also had a very different view of the church in America. I couldn't imagine children walking miles to hear a speaker from another country. I couldn't imagine the adults sitting in the dirt for hours listening to unknown people sharing about Jesus. I had seen so much generosity and sharing from people who had so very little. But whatever they had, they were willing to give. Yes, I learned many, many lessons on that trip.
Yes, I am feeling a tug back to Africa. I can't forgot those faces and the warm hugs I received. I can't forget the joy. Mostly, I know that Jesus is calling me to share the message he has given me and it seems that it needs to be shared in Africa. I would be quite happy to share this message right here at home, but it doesn't seem that any doors are opening for that. So for now, I will just be taking a few steps towards that new connection and will see where that leads.
I want to remind everyone reading this blog, that there is a destiny and plan for all of you that was set in place, even before you were born! It is an exciting and wonderful path that is there, just for you. And along the way there might be ups and downs and turns. There might even be what looks like dead ends. But you can count on Jesus to direct you and to turn you exactly where you need to be. This is also a reminder to not give up on your dreams. You just never know where those dreams will take you!
Jesus, thank you so much for giving me a new shot of hope in the past week. Holy Spirit, thank you for reminding me of all of the ways I was touched by my trip to Africa. Help us all to remember and hold on to the call and destiny for our lives. Give us courage and boldness to walk out the path that opens up for us. Help us to dream and think outside of the confines of our small world. Thank you for the new things you are bringing into my life. Amen