While I was in Africa, I had the privilege of meeting so many amazing people whose stories continue to inspire me and remain in my heart. These experiences taught me so much that it feels wrong to keep these stories to myself. Sharing their stories is my attempt at paying it forward. I hope that by reading Tumaini people may become better informed about third world issues and may be inspired to serve in mission.
If anything, these factors motivated me more because the need was so abundant. At times, when things became overwhelming, I found it necessary to take time to talk with God and to grieve over the injustices I was witnessing others experience. Once God and I dealt with that grief, He was able to push us past it and to channel those emotions into productive fruit for His kingdom.
I learned a lot about what it means to serve, how to love, and how to be loved by Christ from conversations with my homeless brothers and sisters over breakfast and on street corners in my hometown.
Abandon your expectations; they will set you up for defeat in your own mind. God’s plan for you is always better than your plan, so when things seem like they aren’t going according to your plan – get ready, because God is probably up to something BIG!
The plight of women in other cultures has particularly weighed on my heart. I think I found their burdens more striking because I was never treated the same way by men that they were. Since I am a mazungu, I was always treated with a certain level of respect that the other women around me weren’t given. Because of something as arbitrary as where I was born, I was not able to fully walk in their shoes and understand what they face every day. Likewise, there were many times that I simply did not know of a way to help ease their burdens or lift them out of their circumstances – I felt helpless and unjustly blessed beyond measure.
The most difficult part of the journey was far and away leaving the village of SVK. I did not feel like the work there was done. In fact, I felt like progress was really just starting to be made. But, I recognized that I was not going to be the person to harvest the remaining fruit at that time. It was hard to leave things unfinished and to leave behind the people who I loved and who had been so loving to me.
The most rewarding part of the journey was seeing God’s work among the children. To witness their improvements in school and their relationships with each other and with God grow closer was heart-warming. As I observed the children becoming more aware of the problems around them, I also saw them looking to God to see how He was going to use them in the future to be a part of His solutions. Their willingness to serve, their hunger for the Lord, and their love for one another were awe-inspiring.