where to begin...
Africa has taught me a lot. In fact EVERYTHING in my life has been affected by my 8 days in Lesotho. The way I look at things is different. I am not saying that I have it all figured out, because to be honest, after Africa I am more messed up. I saw the most extreme poverty. Kids raising kids. Not because there parents were gone, but because their parents were dead. I saw life still living without the things we see as necessities in America.
My heart is convicted everyday with my new way of thinking. One would think that after seeing and experiencing the things I did, I would stop the greed cycle. But the fact is I haven't. I still like things. The only thing is now that I have seen life without stuff, I feel so sinful when I go and buy a new shirt or jeans, that most of the time I return them the next day. A few weeks ago, my grandma passed away and I thought I needed some retail therapy, but after shopping for some things to wear to the visitation and funeral I felt so dirty, because the money I spent could have feed 4 kids for a month and that was only $50.
I am trying so hard to enjoy the Christmas season, but the fact is I am surrounded by the commercial Christmas that it makes me sad. At work I am surrounded by the business of the season. I don't mean to sound negative, but people don't really care about others. I have gone home from work MANY times in tears because of something a customer has said. I am not saying people in Lesotho are saints, but they care about relationships with others. Something that would take 30 minutes in America to do, would take a few hours in Lesotho, because the people want to get to know you and a "quick" question is never quick. I crave to surround myself with the birthday of Jesus and celebrate the life He has given us.
Now on to the great part of Africa...the children. I find myself starring at the pictures a lot. Their smiles and eyes are so beautiful. I wish I could post them for you to see. Their little lives have gone through so much more than I have, but the JOY they have is so contagious. There was a boy at the orphanage I stayed at, that adopted me. His eyes looked deep into my heart and I melted. I loved the feeling of his hand in mine. It was fun to see him interact with the other children. He didn't like it when I would have other children on my lap. He didn't fight them or push them off, but you could tell, that I was his and honestly he is mine. When I think of Africa I think of him. I hear him singing as he would sit on my shoulder and we would walk.
I love to share Africa, but I have a hard time. I am finally able to put some words to my experiences, but my words don't even compare to what I saw, smelled and lived in. I have a hard time living after Africa. There are moments I want to run up to everyone and tell them all about it. There are other times when I just want to hide because I am confused about the way we live compared to the way they live.
With all of that said, I am letting everyone know that I have applied to go back next year for 6 months. There are moments when I want to drop everything and leave now. Then there are moments when I am so scared about going. I covet your prayers through this process. Once I find out that I am accepted, I will be busy raising support, making travel arrangements, working on a visa, saying goodbye to those I will miss dearly and so much more. It is all very overwhelming.
I find myself just craving to know what is next. Am I going? Am I not? I also find myself avoiding large groups of people, in fear that the conversation will go to Africa. You see I LOVE to talk about Africa on the surface. I love to share stories about the trip and share the joy the people of Lesotho have. But I am scared of what God is calling me to be a part of. I am scared of the next step. If I am honest, there is a part of me that would love to stay in "safe" and "comfortable" Michigan. But the fact is my heart is forever changed and I can't be quiet about what God is doing and what He is directing me to do by the strength and grace he gives.
Again, I covet your prayers through this whole process. It is a VERY emotional one.
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