Post #1. South Africa adventures. A recounting of my first mission trip:
I hear a rustling. The lights flick on.
“Good morning, girls.” I hear sweet Suzy say.
I lazily stir and stretch on the mattress on the floor of a large room I have called my bed for five nights – some longer than others.
“What time is it?” I ask groggily, pushing back the eye mask from my eyes, hesitating to leave the little warmth of my sleeping bag.
“It’s 5:53,” she answers.
I chuckle to myself. Nice one, God, I think. For some reason or another I feel God speak to me in times on the clock, or numbers rather. Specifically in “53” and “23.” I feel Him tell me when I see these times – just seven seconds to the hour or halfway mark to the hour – to “wait for the Lord.” Or more specifically, “Be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.”
Seven is the Lord’s number, and we’re waiting for Him to return. We’re waiting for Him to bring more of His kingdom here while we’re on this earth. We’re waiting for Him to use us to be the hands and feet of that Kingdom being brought here, and hopefully in a way that long outlasts our days here.
I push back the bedding, still somewhat reluctant to fully enter that cold air. I slip on my UGGs, open that door that sticks each time, and make my way down the long hallway with tile floors where I look up to see him – my husband – sleepy-eyed and messy hair.
I smile at my favorite sight and greet him with a quick kiss before he returns to his own “bedroom” with the guys – the floor of the church sanctuary, on mattresses similar to ours.
I enter that large, communal, chilly bathroom for the last time. I quickly brush my teeth and return to the girls’ room.
“You guys have to see the sunrise. It’s beautiful,” Suzy tells us as she quickly packs up her belongings. Of course she was up long before us having a quiet time. That girl’s got some serious discipline – or else a need for very little sleep!
I follow suit and quickly pack up my own belongings. I don’t even bother changing out of my sweatpants – two pairs, to be exact – and multiple layers of sweatshirts. It’s our last day here which means a long car – or van, to be exact – ride back to “JoBurg” as they call it.
I zip up the last of my belongings, stack my two suitcases by the main doors, pull my headband over my ears and walk outside where the cold wind greets my skin. I round the corner around the side of the church to the East, and as I do the sun that has not quite risen has cast the most gorgeous vibrant orange color onto the canvas of the sky.
I look out over the valley from this hill – or mountain – where the church sits: a beacon of light, both literal and figurative to this village. My feet are planted firmly on its red dirt. And I sigh and think to myself, “This is Embo.”
This land is so beautiful. A place of such poverty that is so rich in view as Clay puts it. I have a quiet moment alone together with God where I feel Him most – amidst the beauty of His Creation. And then I think to myself, “How will I ever recall and recount the adventures we had here? All that God did? All the ways in which He worked?”
Now, as I sit here, back in the comforts of our home where I get to sleep in the same bed as my husband and wake up to hot coffee and furry blankets and my laptop that beckons me to write. To create. To recount. And to recall.
And I struggle still to answer that question. Where do I even begin? And well, I guess this is a start. One moment at a time. One page at a time. One blog post at a time.
So, until next time…
“Up on the mountain where Your love captured me, where finally I’m free; this I know.” – Crowder, This I Know
“I could just sit and wait for all Your goodness, hope to feel Your presence… but You have called me higher, You have called me deeper, and I’ll go where You will lead me, Lord.” – All Sons and Daughters, Called Me Higher