Six years ago, just about this time, I was lying in bed at the home of a college friend, trying hard to find sleep, knowing I would be up in just a few short hours getting ready to head to the airport. We spent several hours packing (and laughing a lot!), praying, and talking about what was ahead of us in the next three weeks. We had spent months preparing as a team and seeking God's will for us and for those we would meet. We made our packing list. We put everything in suitcases. We got shots. We read about the culture. We learned some simple words in the language. We did everything we could do to be ready - and the rest was in God's hands! So, as I tried hard to find sleep, instead my eyes stayed open in the darkness imagining...imagining what it would be like to fly across the world for my first time ever out of the United States. Imagining who I would meet and how I would share the Good News of Jesus with them. Wondering why God allowed someone like me to go on a trip like this. Excited to finally see, hear, taste, smell, and fully experience the culture I had been dreaming and praying about for a year since God put Africa on my heart.
I am still amazed at how God worked through that three week trip. The next morning I boarded a flight to Senegal West Africa where I would spend three weeks of my life that I will never forget. Where God would call me and confirm in me the passion and desire He has given me to serve in international missions. A calling I am still trusting Him with and praying for His perfect will and timing for.
There are so many words to describe the amazing ways God worked there - both in the lives of the people we met, and in my heart. The way he pieced so many things together for me and showed me the purpose of earlier experiences in my life leading to this one. Yet it is also hard to describe it in words. I love reading my journal again and again to see just what happened every day.
A piece of my heart is still in Africa. Since I left there, God has blessed me with the opportunity to travel on two other international mission trips and also to see Japan and Europe through other opportunities. He has deepened my desire to serve internationals and placed a special spot in my heart for one day going back to Africa and/or somewhere else in the world. I don't know if it will be a long-term or many short-term opportunities, but I do know I trust Him to show me what He sees fit.
I am so thankful that six years ago God took someone like me and worked through me in Senegal. It was only through His presence and prompting that I was able to serve in the ways I did. To Him be the glory! Here is a post I made two years ago (already?) with some pictures from the trip after four years had passed. I still can't believe it's been six now...