This is part of something that I wrote last year, when in the midst of loads of homework, all I could think about was going to Africa so I just stopped working on my homework, and typed out my thoughts. A lot has changed since then, but my passion for the African people remains.
Can you be homesick for a place you’ve never been? If so, I think I’m homesick for Africa. I want to go there, and learn from them.
Sometimes it’s all I can think about. At work, at church, at chapel, in class, in my room, in the cafeteria, there’s almost nowhere I go that I don’t think about it. At times I think I’m crazy for longing so strongly for a place that I’ve never been, but I know that the Lord has put that desire in my heart for a reason, I’m not sure why yet, but I know that nothing He does is without a purpose. Whether He allows me to go or not, I know that His sovereign plan is perfect.
A year and a half ago when I was home for Christmas break, I remember my mom asking me if I thought I would ever be interested in going to do mission work overseas. I told her flat out no. I had no intentions of going to another country, and that I felt my ministry would be here in the United States. Now if you asked me that same question, I would give you the exact opposite answer just as quickly as I said no before.
Some people tell me how it may seem glamorous now, but that when I get there I will realize how horrible it is and will hate it. They remind me of things such as snakes, huge bugs, mosquitoes, malaria, rats, sleeping on a dirt floor, no bathrooms, nasty food, etc. But I don’t think those things really matter to me – and I pray that the Lord continues to give me the grace to have that attitude. The American culture, the church included, is so caught up in living the American dream. They want to have a lucrative job that will impress their friends, drive a Lexus SUV, own a multi-million dollar home, have 1.5 kids and of course the newest high-definition TV, blackberry, computer, iPod, gaming system or whatever. Scripture says that life is a vapor and I don’t want to spend my “vapor” focusing on these things instead of on making an eternal impact in the lives of others, even if it does cost me my comfort. In the big picture, my temporary comfort is a small sacrifice in exchange for doing God’s will. I hope that I never value the things of this earth more than I value heavenly things.
I’m afraid of what will happen if the Lord does give me an opportunity to go. I know that if I go, I will not be the same person when I come back. At a village or orphanage I would find some child that I would fall in love with, and then I would have to leave…and they would stay. A chunk of my heart will be left there, but maybe that’s not all bad. In fact, maybe it is good.
Many times this semester I have laid on my bed and cried. The tears just pour down my cheeks. I have a picture hanging up on my wall of a little African child my friend Beckie calls Nemo. When I look at his sweet face, I’m reminded of the thousands of other children there who are growing up without the Lord, without families, without food, and missing out on a childhood because they are raising their little brothers and sister…and my heart breaks.