Saturday, October 10, 2009

and now a word from my daughter (candyce) . . .

Lately, I am just so tired.

It could be the fact that I am living in a dorm with 27 (count em) 27 other girls (ALL of whom wake up at the butt crack of dawn to take showers, and blow dry their hair, which ends up sounding like a steel train colliding with a van full of howler monkeys, if I'm honest.)

Or, it could be the fact that I am staffing a missions school which requires ALL my time, energy, intellect, emotion, and money (yes money. I am paying to take these people to africa after all.)

OR it could very well be the fact that I am simply not getting enough sleep (27 girls...) Whatever it is, its rough, and I am learning quickly that I need some amount of personal space. I am normally not like this actually, but I am 23 now... days aren't what they used to be, and I am finding my alone time to be a precious thing.

It struck me today that I only have 8 weeks left in this country, and then its off to africa. My team of 7 and I, in the bush of that crazy continent that I can't seem to stay away from. Just that thought alone makes me want to pee my pants. 7 other people in africa with me? thats crazy talk. I can trust God to take care of me, but now I have to take others? 18 year olds even?

But then I realize that this is where it all begins. If I am so crazy passionate about this place, why wouldn't I want to take other people there, to have them experience what I have?

Well, heres why: Africa broke me.

Plain and simple. I often find that people are mistaking my passion for africa, for enjoyment. They actually think I was having a ball over there, enjoying me time there like an extended vacation. Even when words like "malaria" are mentioned, they chuckle, thinking what a good story I have. What an adventure.

And while it was an adventure and a pretty awesome story, it also sucked really bad at times. Actually, most times. Yes, I keep galavanting off to Africa, but usually at some great expense (i.e. money, health, comfortability) and I mostly do it out of sheer obedience to what God is telling me to do! AND just because he told me to do it, and I follow through, does not always guarantee that its going to be pleasant and easy. Hardly ever, actually.

So I go. And I will go every time, because I have waited my whole life to feel this alive, or this close to God (Same thing, really) and I can't stop now. For the first time, God is letting me feel just a little of what he feels for the lost everyday. But it came at a price (see previous paragraph).

And now I am taking 7 beautiful, smart, joyful students along with me, hoping to be some sort of hope in a place I would call desperate. I definitely tried to warn them about what this trip would entail, but its not even close to what its going to be like stepping off that aircraft, onto that red dirt I call home. How can I prepare them for those babies, the ones with HIV bound for an early death, the ones whose tiny fists wrap around your finger with the strength only an african baby could have, and then cause your heart to break into a million pieces. Or for the men all carrying AK-47's in their right hands, and bottles of local brew in their right, stumbling your way and asking for things that can't be mentioned in this blog...

How can I prepare them for the food, that looks, and tastes like (and is) bugs? Or for the sound of land mines exploding in the night, and the knowledge in the back of your brain that is whispering "there goes another one."

How about the 11 hour bus rides, where if you are a woman, you are not allowed to relieve yourself outside, because its indecent... but the men can. Or the fierce 120 degree heat, and lack of clean water, not to mention malaria? Oh God, how can I do this? How can I take them?

But then I remember that God is for me. He is for us. I have been called crazy many a time for what I do, and maybe I am. Maybe we all are. But I am alive. I feel for the first time things I never thought I could! Real, staggering, painful love! For the first real time. I feel compassion, a word that is lost in my generation. I feel pain along with joy, and sorrow along with wonder. I have a desperation to see the world at large, get better. I may only be one, but now soon to be 8! This one, is now turning to a team of 8. 8 people who can change the world. 8.more.than.before.

And that is why I do it. There is hope for change. for love. life. joy. beauty.

And it started with 1.

from her blog: