But today, I can't say that I still have the same perspective. My last blog I mentioned that God was putting on my heart that no matter the location, if you put me with kids, I would be happy. That's all I need are some kids who just need love and I'll be content anywhere. I feel as though God challenged me one day and said, "Anywhere?" I am sure I hesitated at my answer and said, "Yes, anywhere."
What has transpired in the past 2 months, more importantly the past 48 hours, has been crazy. A good crazy, but crazy nonetheless. It was all God's doing and the best way to show you how God brought me here today is to list everything. You might ask, where I am today? Today, I am looking forward to the fall. It will be when I take my first trip to South Africa to minister to people. Hmmm...Spanish is not spoken at all in South Africa. And it's a place that I never wanted to go to except to see Great White Sharks breach out of the water.
- About 2 months ago, my church started showing this video about Helping Hands in Africa. Helping Hands in Africa is an organization that ministers to kids in South Africa who are orphaned due to their parents/grandparents dying from AIDS. My church partners with them and they do mission trips there. The first time I saw the video, I cried. The second time I saw the video, I cried again. Every weekend that they have shown that video, I've cried. I knew God was up to something. I even looked at the trip details, but quickly dismissed it due to me being in school.
- I recently reconnected with a friend and she knew my heart about missions and saw how strong it was for that particular thing. She told me to talk to the Global Outreach pastor at our church. I, once again, quickly dismissed her prompting and never contacted him. I wasn't sure what to say to him about my heart for missions.
- Helping Hands and my church were doing a walk at the Phoenix Zoo this past Saturday. I decided to sign up for the walk. I definitely thought it was a good cause. I received a free shirt that said, "I am David. AIDS is Goliath." That small statement was so profound to me and I felt so proud wearing that shirt all day long. When we were there, the organization gave us "info" bags. I looked at the information when I got home and at the bottom of their newsletter gave the addresses of their office. There are only two, one based in South Africa and the USA office is based in Tempe. I sat there dumbfounded to know that this agency is literally right in front of my face. I know of two mission agencies that are based in the Phoenix area, Food for the Hungry and now Helping Hands in Africa. But that is it.
- I felt prompted to explore their website and quickly found the video for short term mission trips. As I watched, tears yet once again fell. Then who came on the video? Matt Swartz, who is the Global Director at my church. You know, the one I had previously dismissed talking to? I didn't realize that my new church home was so involved in this organization till that moment.
- So, I pulled up the Global Outreach page and for 40 straight minutes, I sat there and stared at my calendar knowing how many classes I would miss if I went on one of these trips, I also stared at the local office address for Helping Hands and the website with all of the trip information. I would normally stress about all the information that was in front of me, but I didn't. I felt a sense of calm, a sense of peace. I knew it was something that I was being led to do. So much has happened with this agency and me in the past two months. If I am not seeing the video in church, there has been this little voice saying, "Go to South Africa".
- Later as I told Kristine, she already said I had made up my mind to go. Yes, I had. She couldn't believe that I stopped fighting what was right in front of me said, "Yes, I will go." Between her and Romi, they both said the exact same thing to me in regards to this trip. God is obviously do some serious work in my life and had opened the door to go to South Africa.
- Yesterday at church, is what really got me. I got to church early as usual. I normally go in and get some coffee and do my daily Bible reading. Yesterday, I debated in the car for a few minutes if I should instead put make up on and then head in. I decided coffee and reading was more important than make up and walked up to the church. This man was walking to the car and said Good morning to me. I looked at his face and said good morning back, not noticing his name tag. Then as he walked past me, I realized who it was. It was the Global Outreach Director from my church wearing a Helping Hands shirt. I stopped him and began my flubbering story about everything that has happened and how God was putting this on my heart to go.
My head is swirling with everything that has happened this past weekend. But there is still one concern: School. I am not sure if my college professors will allow me to take off 3-4 classes in a row to go on this trip. I am going to explore the option with them and see if they would be willing to bend over backwards and help me. If not, then it has been decided that I will take a semester off of school to go on this trip. I will not worry about this nor will I worry about what people might think because I will possibly be delaying my education. If I don't take this opportunity, it might never happen again. And I'm not willing to shut the door on my future this time. This time I want to see what God has in store for me come fall.
We are doing a vacation bible school with the kids in the village and that right there, makes me so excited about this adventure I will be taking.
*Giggle* I'm going to South Africa!