Sunday, July 29, 2012

Why yes I said I was going to Africa….

I can hardly believe I am saying these words and yet I am.  I am going to AFRICA!  How crazy is that?!?  If you know me at all you know it is crazy and sounds WAY out of my comfort zone.  I’m not one of those girls who dreamed of going to Africa.  In fact Africa always scared me, it always sounded scary and far away and very uncivil.  So not me….and yet here I am saying I’m going to AFRICA.  And I’m quite thrilled at the prospect.  So let me fill you in on this journey that has begun for me. 
This journey actually started a very long time ago….
You see….Once upon a time, there was this princess….and she had BIG dreams and she knew God had BIG plans for her.  And many of her dreams came true….but as time went on life got hard….really hard…and she lost her way. In time she forgot who she was and what she had been called to do.  She forgot about dreams that were planted in her heart many years ago.  But thankfully she was rescued not only by a Prince but by the King of Kings.  And that is where our story begins today.

So if you haven’t figured it out I am that Princess. (ha!)   And many years ago I had two very real God planted dreams in my heart.  One was to teach Preschool and not only that, but to have my own Preschool.  I had notebooks full of sketches of how I would set up my classroom.  I had lesson plans and schedules all ready.  And I did teach Preschool, very young in fact.  I was always given the job over people much older than me and even with more education.  I was spoken over in my teenage years by my dear friend and neighbor Cynthia Jones.  She was the first person to tell me I had a gift from God to work with children.  And then when I was 27 years old my dreams really did come true as Stepping Stones was born.  For those of you that don’t know, Stepping Stones is a preschool that I and 3 other dear friends founded together.  It has been such a joy and pleasure to be there all these years.  It truly is a gift from God and I have loved every second of being there.    It is my pride and joy. 

But all those years ago God planted another seed in my heart.  Not only did I want to teach and have my own preschool, but I wanted to work with orphans.  I remember hearing about orphanages and being moved to tears.  I knew God wanted me to love on children who did not know love.  But as I said, life got hard.  I became a single mom.  I knew my son was my 1st priority.  And although I know I did not do everything perfect with him, God is so good and merciful.  He has made many things right that I did  wrong.  I will NEVER stop speaking of God’s mercy and grace.  He makes all things good.  Not perfect, not easy, and not without challenges.  But He can turn anything around if you go to him and seek his ways.   And you know my son is now in college, forging away his own life. 

 Three years ago I was sitting in church and I heard about a mission trip our church was sponsoring.  It was a trip to Swaziland Africa.  It was working with Orphans in a Preschool.  You better believe my ears perked up fast and my heart started to race.  I was too late to be a part of this trip but I thought, well I’ll go on the next one.  But there was no next one.  Due to budget cuts the church had to put some mission trips on hold indefinitely.  I constantly thought about Swaziland.  It just would not leave me.  Now fast forward 3 years.  God was working on me BIG TIME!  Obedience was the name of the game (and still is).  About a year ago I heard about this family from my church.  Rob and Jennifer Taylor and their children felt called to move to Swaziland Africa.  I did not know them…but I had nothing to lose and I Face Booked Jennifer.  I told her I was interested in Swaziland and asked her if we could talk.  We met for coffee and the rest is history.  We talked, cried, and prayed.  It was settled; once they got to Swazi I was coming for a visit. 

Since then I’d love to tell you it has been an easy process but it has not been.  I have doubted.  I have panicked.  I have literally freaked out about going.  The thing that has been the hardest for me is going alone.   I have prayed and asked anyone that might possibly consider going with me to go.  But I know God is calling me to this on my own for now.  Don’t get me wrong, the Taylor’s are waiting for me with open arms, and they have PROMISED me they will be at the airport gate cheering me on.  I know won’t really be alone.  But for whatever reason I wanted a travel buddy.  I know God is telling me to trust him.  I’ve got this… 

 Today we had the most amazing sermon that just hit it out of the ball park for me.  It was about God’s call on your life…NO EXCUSES!  And the sermon was on Moses and all the many excuses he used to try to get out of what God had called him to do.  I am no Moses, but boy do I have a lot of excuses ready and waiting.  Can you imagine if Moses had walked away and said….Sorry not gonna do it.  That is probably my biggest fear of all.  That I would not walk in obedience with God and someone else would take my place.  That I would live this mediocre life with no real meaning.  We have one life to live….we better live it out loud!  Today at church we had to write on a post-it-note our insecurities that we’re holding back from what God is calling us to do.  We laid the post-it-note at the altar and then picked up a luggage tag and wrote on it what God was calling us to do.   It was truly profound!  I bet you can guess what I wrote.  J 

I am going to Swaziland in less than two weeks.  Swaziland is a tiny country next to South Africa.  It has the highest HIV infection  in the world.  I will actually be flying into Johannesburg, South Africa.  It is about a 4 hour drive from there to Manzini, Swaziland where I will be staying most of the time.  The orphans that I will be working with live on a farm at New Life Homes.  It is about a half an hour from Manzini.  (Although I plan on staying a few days on the farm with the teachers there.)  The orphans go to school at the farm along with other children from the community.     If you want to know more about the farm and orphanage please go to  .   It is not a traditional orphanage but has family style homes with a house Mother.   I was informed tonight that I will be doing some lessons at the school with the Preschoolers.  I am very excited/nervous about this.  There are about 20 preschoolers in the class and I was told they have high energy.  (What preschoolers don’t?) J

More than anything else please pray for me.  Pray for peace.  Pray for guidance.  Pray for absolute confidence in what God wants for me in the future.  Pray for my son Chance, that he will be at peace with all of this.  I don’t know what the future holds….but I do know God holds it in his hands.  And that is quite enough for me.  Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.  And thank you so much for your support and love and prayers through all of this.