Saturday, December 10, 2011

My African Life

Well, between starting and restarting this blog a few times - in an attempt to figure out just what I want to say and the fickle internet which works when and for how long it chooses on any given day, this blog is way overdue! I'm not even sure exactly what this blog will end up saying - I'm just going to share some things that are on my heart and hope to goodness that it means something to someone. I also promise to be a little more intentional about future blogs!

I would have to say that the last two days have been a real turning point for me. These last couple of weeks have been hard from me. I could feel this wrestling in my soul. I wanted to be here - I thought. Being here was what I had waited and prayed for, planned for - for many months, even years. So, I didn't understand the struggle within myself. I would pray each day and tell the Lord that I didn't feel the passion that I once had. I didn't feel the overwhelming desire to be here. And, to be quite honest, it scared me. Because being here without His leading and without the passion I knew I needed seemed like a big, embarrassing, expensive mistake.

I knew that God had called me to missions and I knew that I loved Mozambique. Even more, I knew that I loved those little boys so very much. So where was the disconnect? As I prayed, I just felt God calling me to seek His face more instead of a feeling. Emotions, I knew, are more fickle than African internet and they are not to be trusted to gauge the calling of God upon. I sought His face. I asked Him for the passion I needed. I asked Him to show up in tangible ways that would show me that He indeed had brought me to this hot, dirty, smelly place.

I opened my Bible yesterday and read my daily portions of Scripture. I am reading through the Bible this year and nothing in Joel or Revelation seemed to jump out at me as if God were speaking to me. I felt discouraged and begrudgingly opened up my "Streams in the Dessert" devotional. I prayed, "You know God, I need something. I need to see that my struggle, the pain of being so far away from people that I love, the daily grind of having to learn the language, do ministry, and just exist here is of some value to you." I opened "Streams in the Dessert" and read, "For our present troubles are small and won't last long, but they are achieving for us a glory that vastly outweighs them all and will last forever." That for me was music to my ears! I knew that He saw my struggle and that He truly cared - He cared so much that He was preparing for me something that would 'vastly' outweigh what I now endured.

And then, this morning, we said goodbye to a wonderful Australian team that has served here in Beira and in other parts of Sofala province the last 3 months. I knew they were excited to go home. I was excited for them - and a wee bit jealous too! Before they left, Oliveira, my base leader prayed for them and then they asked to pray for our team. As they did, I couldn't help the few little tears that slipped from my eyes. They prayed for the work here - that the team would have the health, strength, and resources we needed to carry out the work. I realized then that God has chosen me to stay behind. I have been given the opportunity to love little boys who otherwise don't have a family. I have been given the opportunity to be the hands and feet of Jesus. For the first time, I felt something swell within my heart - like maybe, just maybe a small wind was beginning to fan the flame of my passion for missions.

Do I miss home? Yes. I miss my sister, my mom, my little nephew Isaac. I want to hold him so badly I can't stand it. I miss my church and my friends. But, I am happy to be here. I am glad that He chose me to be here at this moment loving these boys. I am thankful to have even the tiniest portion of His heartbeat for the world. It is painful sometimes to see the lonely, poor, broken, and helpless. I have been given so much compared to these, but I am glad to share in His sorrow and be a part of the joy He finds in loving His children.

I know there are difficult days ahead. Days where I will still question my calling, this place, being away from everything I hold dear. But, today I can rest in knowing that He is here with me and that in Him I can do all things. When tomorrow comes, we'll tackle that together, too.


Melissa Whitten said...

Wow, Jenn you should write a devotional book!!
Amazing first blog post. I can't wait to read more Daily...catch that DAILY!!

Dawn said...

I am praying for you Jenn, you have an amazing call on your life and you are living it, day by day, with the passion, love, doubt, and anticipation that will serve you well. I'm reminded of that night at Cubbies when Will kept hugging you, smiling and laughing the whole time, almost as if he was drawn to you because of God's call on your life. Those little boys are so blessed to have you! Love you friend!

loopy747 said...

We are all praying for you daily. Richard loves looking up about Africa now and learning new things. He is really amazed that you left home for THREE years so you could go to Africa and help little boys. You are changing hearts everywhere not just in Africa. You are teaching my 7 yr old little boy about listening to God and doing as He leads you to do. That is pretty amazing! We are so thankful for you!! We love you!!

Jessica said...

Wow Jenn,
I just read your blog outloud to my family and you had my mom and myself in tears. You are such a blessing to those boys. My family will pray for you everyday and stand amazed at the work you are doing for our lord. God bless you and that was a beautiful first blog... BEAUTIFUL. It was straight from your heart and so real. You were born to mission Jenn and you make us Christians so honored. Peace be with you and hold your head high. Your amazing!

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful testimony! You are indeed a precious blessing
God bless and keep you and all your loved ones!

Becky Cherry said...

Jenn, Thanks for sharing your heart. I can only imagine how hard it is to do what you are doing. Thanks for being real about it! Glad that you are letting Him guide you through the days ahead. I know that you are there for all the right reasons. Don't beat yourself up about missing home...we don't feel bad about missing you! Xoxox Becky

Kelly said...

Thank you for sharing your heart. You are an inspiration. Peace!