I've been back in the states for a couple weeks now and man life has been busy. It's been hard to get anytime to just sit and reflect on the trip and what God did there. I've been so busy getting back into ministry with H2O, catching up with friends and family, and working on our house we bought right before I left. However, I was able to go on a short mini vacation with Ben right when I got back, and it was so nice to be able to spend time with him and talk through the whole trip with him before anyone else. We went to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and camped so funny enough my trip kind of ended how it began, camping in Michigan. Unfortunately, it did end up raining on us and we had to cut our camping short and we headed to a hotel. Because of the time difference and jet leg my first night back in the states I ended up getting up at 4:00 in the morning wide awake. As unfortunate as that is it did allow me some time to reflect on the trip before Ben woke up. This is my journal entry from the day after we got back in the states.
After two very long days of traveling we are back. I'm not sure if I just am not sure how I feel or if I'm completely content to be where God has put in this time which is home with Ben. I do know that I am a little scared to see other people because I know that they are all going to ask me how was the trip and how did I see God moving. There's definitely an answer to those questions, however, I just don't know how to put words to it. There's so many things that I want to be able to say. I want to be able to say that I'm a different person now then I was when I left. A person who loves better and deeper. Someone who is more joyful and content in all circumstances. Someone who understands and appreciates the beauty of all cultures no matter how different they are. I want to be able to say that I'm less arrogant about the world and how your world view differs based on how and where you were raised. I wish I could say with full confidence that I am more confident in myself and who God made me to be. That I won't let the worries and stresses of life get to me so easily. I really hope and Pray all these things are true, but really only time will tell. And if they aren't rue then I will pray everyday for these things until one day they are true, because my eyes were opened on this trip to a way of life that is so loving and freeing. God opened my heart to love and joy in a way I'm not sure I had ever experienced before. He showed me the beauty of in all things even ones we as a world would deem as horrible. Even in Etosha Port where there was poverty like I had never seen before, yes it was sad, but yet it was also so beautiful. The people there appreciated everything they were given. Their homes were basically tin sheds yet they joyfully sang to the Lord. They loved beyond belief and always had the biggest smiles, especially the children. Though they didn't have much what they did have they shared without complaining. At the Tabita Center of Hope, which was one of the school in Etosha Port, they only had one soccer ball, one jump rope, and rickety old jungle gym that only had monkey bars, yet they never fought over them. Most of the students didn't bring much food either most of the time it was just a piece of bread, a small bag of chips, and maybe a piece of candy. Yet one little boy sat next to me saw I was not eating (because we ate later in the day) broke his bread in half and handed me one half. I graciously declined but just the fact that he wanted to share what little food he had with me just melted my heart. The generosity and love the people freely offered to us was so clearly the love of God flowing through them. In a place most people would only see darkness, brokenness, sadness, and hopelessness I saw light, love, unity, joy, peace, and so much beauty. Etosha Port, Outjo, and the country of Namibia will forever be some of my favorite places. Even if over time I slowly lose memories the impact of these places and the people I met there will forever be etched into my heart. I will never forget what God did for me on this trip and the impact the people made in my life.
The one big lesson I feel like I learned there was there can always be beauty and joy in every circumstance as long as you let there be. I pray that God will continue to grow this into my heart and mind.
Some pictures from our time at Tabita center of Hope!
Above are three amazing women that we met while on the trip!
(Far left) Maria is a kindergarten teacher in Outjo. She and her husband started and run the school in a small house. On top of that she is a mother to two children and her niece and she volunteers at their primary school. It is a hostel so many of the students live there. Maria and her husband also do a Sunday service for the students there because Covid prevents them from being allowed to leave the hostel to attend church. This way they and the students still get to attend a Sunday church service. They also come in on Fridays and do activities with the kids. Maria is Wonder Woman and she does it all for the Lord and to love those around her.
(Middle) Hester was our host mother and she was the best host mom anyone could ask for! She loved and served us so well. She had what we needed before we even asked for it. She never ceased to amaze me with just how hospitable she was.
(Far right picture 5th person over) Hien was the in country missionary. This man is truly on a mission for the Lord. He and his family once lived in Namibia but then moved to South Africa because the Lord was calling them there. Despite wanting to move away from their beautiful country they obeyed God. However, he gets to travel to Namibia all the time for missions. He has traveled all around South Africa and Namibia helping people like us get settled into our communities. If there's an issue he's on. Hien is such an amazing example of what it looks like to give God your whole life and follow Him.
It was an honor and privilege to meet every person I did. I wish I could tell you about each and every one of them but you would be reading for days.
That God would continue to provide all that Ben and I need physical, emotionally, and spiritually. We are hopeful that the new medication I will be trying soon works. We have gone through so many and one by one they just all fail or make it worse. Also continue to pray that new supporters would come my way so I can continue to do work with the college students here at UC through H2O.
We are about half way through summer, so continue to pray that the students would not waste their summers but would be intentional about seeking God during this time.
Pray for Namibia during this time unfortunately Covid has hit them really hard at this time and they have less recourses and they have less medical resources then we do here in the states.
If you would like to watch a more in detailed video of our trip check out this video Heaven, one of my teammates, made!