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Adventures in Africa

I decided to write a personal post this week. There have been so many exciting things going on in my life right now! For one, the past two weeks I’ve been in Zambia, Africa on a mission trip. I had never been to Africa before, so this was an entirely new experience for me. There is so much I could write about it, but I’ll just share with you what I wrote in my journal about it:

My mind has been a whirlwind of thoughts and dreams recently. Summer is always the time when I get to contemplate life, figure out what I need to work on, and accomplish some of those goals I haven’t been able to during the year. Strangely, it was on my mission trip to Africa where I really had time to read and contemplate. It was a great experience for me. I learned so much from meeting the people there and seeing how they lived. I’ve told many people about this in a nutshell, but I should probably write it down for myself to remember as well.

It was truly humbling to be in the bush. Those people have absolutely nothing. During the soccer tournament, we would marvel at some of the players who ran and kicked the ball barefoot-how could their feet handle it? But we were told that they were used to it; their feet had strong calluses from going through life without shoes. I still remember this one moment of sitting at the stats table and writing in my journal while watching three little girls stare at us from the dirt. They were sitting on the ground, totally oblivious that not only their clothes but their hair and skin were covered in dirt. They watched us with hungry eyes, soaking in either our whiteness or just the different-ness of our culture. I was struck by a thought when I saw them: what is their biggest ambition in life? What can they accomplish there in the bush? I had to come to the conclusion that their biggest goal was probably to get married as quickly as possible and start having children for their husband who will probably have three other wives. The children there couldn’t read; the only writing they ever did was copying what the teacher wrote on the board. They could carefully write the letters and words into their notebook, but they didn’t even know what they were writing. To them, it was just a bunch of squiggly lines. Most of their lives will be spent trying to stay alive; they would get up every day to find something to eat, and they would go to bed having accomplished surviving another day. How can people live like that? Are they really satisfied with just surviving?

As I said before, many of the people in the bush community cannot read. Most of them don’t have a Bible. However, when we went to their church service, we saw the most sincere worship and preaching. The people there love the Lord and are hungry for his word. Our friend Deborah, who was part of our advanced English class, does not have a Bible, and whenever we had a break in class, she would take one of our Bibles and start reading- anything to hear God’s word. It astounded me to see how in love with God some of them are. They don’t see themselves as victims; they don’t curse God for the life he has given them. Instead, they worship the Lord for what he has done for them. They don’t complain about their lives, rather they tell others about his love and mercy. And then here I am, constantly struggling with reading my Bible, complaining that God doesn’t give me what I need, comparing what I have to others… I never realized how much I truly have. God has blessed me in so many ways every single day that I take for granted. In light of all of this, I ask why God has given me such an amazing life. I don’t deserve it any more than anyone else. I don’t deserve it at all. But still, God has given me so much. I must use it for him. I cannot waste the gifts he has given me.

There is so much more I could tell you about my trip, but if you’re interested, you’ll just have to ask me about it. ;) I also have an exciting announcement. Starting Sunday, I will be posting one chapter of my first book, Perfect, every week. And as soon as it is published, you will be able to read the entire novel! A lot is happening this summer, so stay tuned!

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