It’s a question I’m trying to figure out the answer to. It’s just so loaded I don’t know how to give an appropriate response- one that will satisfy the interviewer as well as myself. The question is essentially the same, just dressed up in different words: “So how was outreach? Or What was outreach like? Or Did you have a good outreach?” I started out by simply saying.. “It was incredible, life changing.” They seem satisfied with my answer but I am not! I need people who really care to hear my stories and struggles and adventures and heartbreaks and joys! People like that are few and far between though so I need to find a way accept these simple exchanges and move forward. Knowing that I can unload on my mom or sister or a handful of really close friends as soon as I am actually home, makes this in between time doable. I keep coming back to God and curling up under the comfort of his arms- I know he is with me. I know he is loving me. I know he is my guide and confidant. I am hungry for revelation and Godly wisdom and Heavenly perspective. He has these for me and I will find them as I press in for more.
My re-introduction into the wild wild western world was a bit of a slap in the face. The first thing I see in the Perth airport is a family with 2 teenage daughters wearing cut off jean shorts more suitably used as panties! And the parents are okay with this? What!? In my head if my knees or shoulders are showing I feel scandalous! Then the rudeness of strangers toward each other while passing through customs was astounding. In Africa people are polite and helpful and welcoming to everyone. I sat in my spot on the YWAM bus taking us to our temporary homes wondering what this transition would be like. That first night I opened my storage bag to find 8 pairs of shoes- my first thought, well I’ll give all but 2 pair away- who needs so many shoes! Then I realized I don’t have enough clothing for a week- eh two outfits will suffice for a weeks’ time. My first full day went smoothly. I had a tour of the new base- saw lots of faces I recognized but could only match about 5 names to said faces. This is not home… even before I didn’t feel like Perth was for me. We broke up in groups for the day and some of us went into the city. I felt fine… like no time had passed and it was no big deal to traipse around downtown with the girls. But after lunch and a handful of stores I was completely spent. Not an ounce of energy was left in my still jet lagged and weakened body. I pushed myself a bit too far, forgetting the fact that I just had Malaria and I’m not 100% yet. At base dinner that night I just sat there- unsure of what to say and not hungry… all I kept thinking is “this is so weird, I can’t believe I am here.” Where am I and what happened to my life?
I spent most of Saturday alone. I was feeling like space was needed. I need to process and rest and find my way. I had a nice morning at the local Christian book store then went home. I slept for about 4 hours after doing some laundry at my temporary house where about 6 other girls live. I woke up feeling a bit better and began to read a book my school leader let me barrow months ago… this is the first chance I’ve really had to read a book for fun. It was called Scared.
I couldn’t put it down. It was set in Africa and follows a young 12 year old with HIV and an American photographer. I felt pulled in- like I was back in Africa. The writer’s descriptions were tangible for me… I know the look of the stars and the setting sun and the way the mud cakes to the bottom of my shoes and the look of hope in the children’s faces when they see a white person, when they saw me. I felt the heartbreak and the helplessness the American character struggles with. I have witnessed first-hand the injustice and the poverty and death. I’ve eaten a delicious meal just miles from where I knew children were hungry and struggled to finish my bite… I lived the confusion of ‘where is the line’ and ‘how do I help in a way that lasts’… that makes a difference in the big picture, without losing site of the small ones. I finished the book in tears. Weeping for the real lives and stories that this fictional character represents… especially the ones I know, have met, have prayed for, have held in my arms… This is really hard. Where am I?
I sat awake listening to my roommate snore loudly and thinking about the little moments of the past months. The things I don’t want to forget. I get anxious to write them down to ensure I won’t lose the memories… so many small glimpses that reset my hearts’ beat. I have work to do… I must write more!
The pictures say it all.
Rivers are graded to difficulty… a grade VI is considered not raft-able, likely to die! I was unaware that we were rafting a section of the Nile that’s grade V, the most advanced! =) ILML
Moments after this flip we were all in the water. It was the beginning of the huge set of rapids and hydraulics… so Duncan our guide called out “okay girls on the count of three take a deep breath” he could see what we couldn’t another huge rapid. I took that breath as commanded and was tossed all around underwater! It was so intense! What a rush!
It blows my mind to know that so many people think being a Christian is a lifestyle of limits and rules and never having fun. They throw around the word religion like an accusation and it makes me cringe… Religion is rules, what I have is a relationship. Why does the world believe this lie that living the Way and knowing Truth is somehow boring and not worth the effort!? People it is so far from boring! What is at all dreary about an all-consuming love? A love that has no limit, it’s passionate, it’s earth shaking, it’s reckless. I live a life that’s original and counter-cultural, adventurous and a little bit rebellious. How is it, that acting and looking like everyone else... messing with drugs, alcohol, and sex is considered cool? I’ve lived that life and it left me lacking any purpose, hope, or satisfaction. The pleasure you get from those things lasts only a moment- but my life is pleasure after pleasure… never ending! The fulfillment and freedom everyone is searching for will not be found, except through God. Without Him you will never really knowing what life is about- never experience your full potential- never experience the impossible! If you’re looking for something more- if you dare to search for a supernatural experience with the living God- if you feel tired and empty- then do something crazy if you have the guts, ask the question ‘is God real?’
This is Pegson. I met her at a Kampala children's home. She is 13 and she gets perfect grades. She loves history and wants to be a midwife when she grows up. She is an orphan and she has sponsors in America so she is taken care of financially. I am praying for her heart though... I found her sitting alone and when I introduced myself she threw her arms around my neck. I melted. Let's pray for a bright future for this young lady.