I recently lost my job, so I finally have some time to catch up on blogging about the Africa trip. My trip journal was pretty thorough, so I'm simply going to post it here with as few edits as possible and you can share my musings. Enjoy!
...We've now had two meetings for the Africa trip & I nearly have the team nailed down - 9 total. This journal's meant to be a record of my thoughts, prayers & experiences up to & through the trip to Kenya in Sept. I'm getting a late start but will try to recapture a bit of what has transpired to date.
Last year I got involved w/ the preparations for the trips to Africa. Years ago, I'd never have thought of doing foreign missions. I'd told God that I wasn't going to be a pastor, "so don't bother asking," and mission would've fallen right in the same category of stubborness. But my heart has been softened and I actually wanted to go to Africa. It wasn't my time, though. So I acted as on outfitter for the trip, participated in fundraising and dropped off/picked up the team from the airport.
This year, when the trip was announced, I applied. Circumstances were less than ideal - Jen has a new studio getting off the ground; New Life is letting me go and I don't know what my next job will be or whether they'll be OK with me taking time off for Africa; we don't have the money; we have two young kids and it's a busy season for Jen's work; and so on. From an earthly perspective, it made no sense for me to apply. I felt called to it, though, so I applied. Not too surprisingly, I was accepted. I'm office mates with the decision-maker and have been involved for years at New Life.
Not long after I applied, I was asked to lead the Kenya team. Lead the team! Not what I wanted to do...
...but I kind of suspected/feared I would be asked. So I thought about it, prayed about it and aksed a few trusted people for their thoughts. In the end, I concluded that the entire trip was God's way of stretching me & growing me. From an earthly perspective, me going on this trip is ludicrous. The leap to me leading the team is only slightly more nuts than me going on the trip in the first place. Laughing nervously, I prayed "God, what are you doing?!" and agreed to lead the trip.
So we've now had three meetings and the team stands at 10 people.
Been busy mostly w/ family time. The fundraising support letters have been out for a couple weeks and the response has been generous. It's humbling really. Some gave far beyond expectations, other less (but no hard feelings). One woman who's out of work gave $100, the equivalent of the "widow's mite"--truly a generous sacrifice. The financial support is encouraging, particularly on those days when doubts creep in.
One of the tentative team members emailed me this week and said she was backing out of the trip. She just doesn't feel that she's in a good place on several fronts right now. My hope & prayer is that she will be protected from discouragement and use this time to draw close to Him.
I have only declined one person for the team. He was passionate & seems to have a heart for Africa, but his application was quite belated and I just had a sense that we had our team. I feel peaceful about it.