This post is going to be raw, so I’m going to dive on in.
I might be going to Africa for two years. Yep, you read that correctly: two years. Even typing it seems incredibly scary to me and makes it so real.
But here’s the thing: I don’t know for sure if I’ll be going. I’ve been invited to Africa Inland Mission’s (AIM) Connect Week in November, which is where I will officially find out if I’ll be journeying to Africa or not.
Oh wait, you need some background information, don’t you?! Okay, let me back up…
Back in December, it hit me that I am at a point in my life where I can fairly easily get up and go anywhere. I pictured multiple short-term missions, but God was starting to lay it on my heart that I could be gone longer.
Umm, no thank you, God. I’ll pursue short-term missions, lasting about three months, but definitely not longer.
Who did I think I was to tell God no? Hadn’t I already learned many times over that God always gets His way?
Fast forward to February. I found out about AIM and this Training in Ministry Outreach (TIMO) program that lasts for two years and includes building relationships, learning a new language, and… wait for it… HOMEWORK! Yes, I am so crazy that I actually miss being in school! I wanted to apply for TIMO right then, but I knew I needed to be still.
At the end of March, I journeyed to Ecuador with my church and fell in love with the international mission field.
Upon arriving home, I applied for TIMO. Even applying was a process and brought me into even deeper reliance on God. Every conversation I had about AIM was pointing me towards TIMO, but I didn’t want to apply and possibly be gone for two years… Nevertheless, I applied.
And was asked to fill out another application.
Then was asked to interview.
And now I have been invited to Connect Week in Atlanta.
To be blatantly honest and put my heart out there, in my humanness I was hoping to not be invited to Connect Week. It would be easier to not have to tell people about Africa and instead continue living my fairly comfortable life. I pictured myself being excited about being invited because that meant I had a good interview. But, I wasn’t. I saw the invitation email and broke down crying. My anxiety rose. It was like a part of my life was ripped away. Being invited means I’m that much closer to going to Africa for two years, and therefore sacrificing all of my life. Quite honestly, it sucks.
But wait, maybe that’s the point.
Maybe God is asking me to sacrifice every earthly thing that brings me comfort and happiness. He could very well be asking me to miss my sister’s graduation, two years of my grandparents’ lives, the comfort of living at home, my community, amongst so many other things that hurt my heart to leave.
The entire process has been a constant reminder of this simple truth: my life is not my own.
I struggle with believing that He is a good, good Father. Why is He calling me away? Why is He using me? Why have I been blessed with a heart for missions and spreading the Gospel message? Can’t He send someone else?
Yes, His mission will be completed even if I say no, but why would I when the God of the universe is calling me?
When you’re called, you go.
So, I’m at least going to Connect Week. When I received the email, there wasn’t a question of going or not; I broke down crying just the week before and said, “Yes, God. If You lead me, I will go. If I am invited to Connect Week, I will go. Make the desires of my heart match your own.” It’s also my understanding that I would not be leaving for at least a year, but I’ll know more in November.
This post barely scratches the surface of the struggles and pains of this process, of God leading me more into Him, and being taught that He is literally all I need, even finding joy in my pain. Maybe I’ll write more posts about different parts of the process leading up to now. But, I would like to ask this of you: if you are interested in learning more about this journey to Africa, please, ask me any questions. I’ll try to be an open book. Feel free to Facebook, email (firstname.lastname@example.org), text, or call me. I would love to include you in this journey.
In closing, I would like to ask a couple of things. (No, this is not where I reach out asking for financial support… Although, that post will be coming in the near future.) Right now, I’m asking for you to join me in prayer. Please pray for my family’s hearts in this. I can only imagine what it is like to see your daughter/granddaughter/niece travel to a foreign land for so long. Please pray for my heart as I prepare to take another step forward in God’s global mission, and that the desires of my heart would line up with His plans for me. Pray against spiritual warfare, as I know the enemy will not make this easy, and that in the midst of spiritual warfare I would cling even more tightly to God. And please, I beg you, pray for the people already out on the mission field, those preparing to leave, and those starting to recognize their calling.
And just like that, it was time to come out of hiding.
“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” Psalm 46:10