I land in South Africa in one week! There is so much anticipation associated with this trip. I’m going on a scouting trip to the OCI team in South Africa as a sort of ‘staff trial’ or ‘5 week interview’ to see if I will be joining the team in full-time missions. I’m incredibly excited for this opportunity to get to know the team and work with them!
But I can’t help but think about how this time it’s different…
Last summer when I first visited South Africa, I had no expectations. I had no idea what would happen or how I would be changed – and I embraced it. I wanted new, different, fresh. I yearned for new water to flood my desert.
So much has happened since then.
A shift in direction. A move to a new state. A letting go of what was for what is to come. Growth. Wrestling for answers. Sometimes steps (and sometimes leaps) of faith.
And now I’m on the brink of returning to the same country but a new place; with the same passions but executed in a new way; with familiar faces but not with me all the time.
In Bible study tonight we talked about the story of Cortez in 1519 when he landed on the shores of Veracruz ready to stake his claim. He took extreme measures to ensure his men would not be tempted to leave, to escape, to retreat. He burned all the ships so his men would have to stay and fight. We talked about how God wants our all: He wants us to surrender our agenda and trust His plan. And you know, I have to say my ships are burned. I have no Plan B (ok ok, Plan C) simmering for if I return and things go differently than I hope. I quit my full-time job, moved half way across the country to live with family as I fund raise and find the team God is calling me to, left the life I built for 5 years, said good byes to deep friendships, and stepped out in obedience. There are no comfortable safety nets.
And yet, somehow, there is such freedom and peace in that. When I sit still, close my eyes, and quiet my mind I know I am following my Father. Even though my life may look illogical, I trust in His faithfulness and continue down the path He has paved for me already.
It’s a risk (and yes that is my OneWord from 2010, it still lingers). It’s trust. It’s excitement. It’s stretching. It’s praiseworthy (that God would call me to Africa?!).
And so, as I prepare my head and my heart for my trip I surrender all my expectations and anticipation. I pray that He makes His will known. I pray that He breaks my heart for Africa. I pray His passions become mine. I pray His desires become mine. And I pray for rejuvenation of my spirit as I enter my element. All the risk has been worth obeying the call and starting to live a life so beyond my imagination it could only have happened because of Him.’
I guess the only thing left now is to pack…!