Since today & tomorrow mark 4 years starting a missionary career and relocating to South Africa, I thought I would share a glimpse of how it all began….
In July 2003, I was asked if I would travel to Thailand for a week and check on a short-term mission team ministering there. Having never been to Asia I quickly accepted. On my way to Thailand there was brief fuel stop in Tokyo, Japan. Due to the brevity of this stop, we were not allowed to deplane. While sitting on the runway, I heard a voice inside my head say, Thirteen years ago, Japan was your destination and Africa was the furthest place from your mind, now here you finally sit and it is Africa that has captured your heart.
You see it was thirteen years prior while attending college that I went on my first short-term mission trip. While in preparation for this trip, I actually prayed, “Lord, I will go anywhere but Africa”. I then signed up to go to Japan. Well, as I have shared in my profile this was the one of my, “Never say nevers”. Yes, you guessed it, my Japan trip was cancelled and I found myself on my way to South Africa.
I never planned on being a so called “missionary”. In fact, it was the last thing in the world I intended to do. When I signed up for the trip I did feel in my heart it was something the Lord asking me to do but I also saw it as a fun excursion (that was before they stuck me on the Africa team) and something on my “Christian to-do list” that I would be able to simply check off. I even recall boarding the airplane to return to America at the culmination of that first trip and wiping the sweat off my brow as if to say, “Phew, I am not called to be a missionary.”
I realized years later that it was on that first trip the “missionary seeds” were planted and for more than a decade they would be watered and cultivated. Fourteen years would pass, a long journey ensue and the dread of Africa would become a dream. During that time, I graduated college, married my missionary partner, who also at the time had no intention of living overseas, had my first 2 children, traveled all over the world on short-term mission trips, worked for a missions organization that taught me a love for God and His people and watched my heart break for the brown-skinned people living an ocean away.
Four years ago we arrived on African soil with 2 children, 3 suitcases, 6 trunks, 4 carry-ons and a mind full of wonder. Today, I sit in celebration of all the Lord has done in the short-time of being here, gratitude for the journey and all that I learned along the way and hope for many more years of living and ministering to those I dreamed of almost 2 decades ago!
It is a happy Africa Anniversary!