Wednesday, June 8, 2011

How it all began...

It hasn't always been a dream of mine to go on a mission trip to Uganda. Don't get me wrong, I have never been opposed to it, and I have always been interested in travel. The idea of going to Africa on a mission trip simply had never crossed my mind. At least not seriously. But I suppose that is where my error was. My whole life, up until this year, has been essentially about what I want to do. Where I want to go. What I feel that I am gifted in. But last summer, I graduated from Clackamas High School, and in the fall I moved down to Corvallis to attend OSU. I was so excited to move into the House of Charis, which is an all-girls, Christian cooperative house. I was anticipating the forming of lifelong friendships, and the experience of living somewhere new, independent from everything I was familiar with. But the growth I have experienced this year as a person, and a daughter and bride of Christ far outreaches anything I could have imagined. 

About a year and a half ago, I began to feel a pull towards missions. I didn't know exactly what that would mean, and didn't really discuss it with anyone. Then, in the fall of 2010, it somehow became clear in my mind that missions were going to be a part of my life sometime in the following four or five years. I didn't know whether that would mean going on a long term mission, short term mission(s), or even where I was supposed to go. All I knew was that something was being set in motion in my life, and it was none of my own doing. Not long after this realization, in December, I was attending a worship night at another co-op in town, and all night, I couldn't think of anything but Africa. I had already learned enough in the preceding few months to know that God often works through those seemingly random thoughts that pop into your mind. And I knew I was going to Africa. Now, you might think, Africa is a big place, wanna narrow it down just a bit? But honestly, I was filled with so much excitement over the fact that God was calling me to Africa (and soon!), that I didn't really care how vague that call was. After all, Christ bought people for God out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and we are therefor called to reach out to everyone. And what command could be more vague than that? Yet that makes it no less important.

A couple weeks later, that confidence was rewarded when my parents came down to visit and I talked to them about it. They were, of course, a bit skeptical, but not as much as I had expected! My dad mentioned Grace Giving International to me, telling me about how he had heard they were taking a team or two to different places in Africa this summer. I looked into the organization, and saw that they were taking two teams: one to Ethiopia, and one to Uganda. SO... I sent out an email to the director of their Uganda program, and the next thing I knew, I was all signed up to go this summer! It still seems so unreal, but there is not a doubt in my mind that big things are going to happen on this trip.

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