May marked my three-year anniversary with Africa. Three years ago, I stepped off the plane into a big unknown, unsure of my future, and unsure what I was even doing in Africa. It turns out that God had much bigger plans for me and now that I live here, I can’t imagine being anywhere else. With each passing year, I fall more in love with God and the things He is teaching me. This year, however, there have been harder lessons but big breakthroughs.
It’s not always easy to pack up our lives every other month to travel to different places, with different people, and build relationships just to say goodbye. However, each community I am in, and each place I go, I see God. It’s so hard to love people with everything you have just to leave. This is something that happens at least 4 or 5 times a year for us.
I recently have been praying a lot and being very honest with God. I have done two outreaches this year and when I first leave, I need to leave people I love so much at home. Then I go to a community, love people and need to leave them. I kept asking God “why?’ I asked Him, “Are we really doing anything?” “Does anything we do make a difference?” “What do you want for me?”
When I first came here, I knew I loved the African people. I loved my family. And I loved the countries I was in. Their joy changed my life, the way I’ve seen prayer and seen God work transformed me. I came to a point where I wanted to tell every single person about who my God is, about a Savior that came for them too. But when you get down to the work, it’s hard, it’s messy, it brings tears. But it also brings more joy than I have ever imagined in my life.
Back to my questioning: I think it’s OK to be honest with God. It’s OK to tell Him where we are. I’ve asked God to speak to me but was feeling pretty defeated because I wanted to know if I was doing enough for Him and if it was making a difference. On my recent outreach, I stayed in a tent for two weeks. Each morning as the chickens were waking me up, I would pray. At night when the sun went down and it was too early to sleep, I would pray.
I came to this verse in Romans 12:11, “Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual passion, serving the Lord.”
In different terms, “Don’t lack dedication, but keep your spiritual passion, serving the Lord.”
This was it, this was my answer: It doesn’t matter if I don’t think I’m doing enough, God just asks me to show up and to have passion and dedication as I serve Him. What a gracious God we serve.
I hate goodbyes, I hate having to love people and leave them. It’s always hard for me. I cry every time I leave my family. So as my last outreach ended and we drove away as the sun was setting, I could see the tears of the family I had just come to love and I started to cry. I was hurting and just wanted them to know how loved they truly were by Someone who died for them. That was the day I saw this verse and in the midst of the hurt, God comforted me. He lifted my head and made me realize serving is never in vain when He is the center. It made me know God put me here for a reason. He’s given me His dedication and passion in Him and I can honestly say I’ve seen His love in every place in Africa. God is my foundation, and I can trust in Him to help me through each experience and each place I go.
I love when God answers our prayers and just reminds us of who He is. He is a way maker, a comforter, a provider, our first, our last, a Savior, a Father, and a friend. All we have to do is be willing to be used and put Him first, and He will bring us through. He will use you to accomplish what He wants. We should always aim to love people like He loves us. He wants us to walk in faith and keep serving Him. That’s a truth I want to stand in today and everyday.