Tracy writes about her imminent short-term missions trip to Zambia.
It’s so exciting to know that in less than 8 hours, I will be heading back to Africa! It has been 10 years, 2 kids, 2 jobs, 3 houses, and the same very supportive husband since I have been to the African continent. Last time, I was in Senegal – West Coast, French- (and Wolof-) speaking, equatorial, and on a medical trip. This time I will be in Zambia – Southern Africa, English- (and Tonga-) speaking, about as far from the equator as Haiti, and visiting an orphanage.
The details will be different, but the friendships and hearts of the people will be similar. My original thoughts of Africa come from middle school – wanting to help, help, help people. I dreamed of becoming a doctor and living in Africa, with hazy visions of sleeping in a reed hut, working in villages, and simply loving and being loved by the people there.
Over time, that vision has changed – sometimes more in focus, sometimes just as hazy. Now I try to direct my thoughts to God – to ask and sit still and listen (!!!!) – to try to hear what His plan is for my life. The call to missions work in Africa is clear. For a long time, I was holding onto my hazy vision of working in a village, yet Brian and I waited many months to get a specific assignment. Feeling impatient with God (are missionaries allowed to do that?), I prayed one morning, “Okay. Fine, God. I will go wherever You want (even if it’s not Africa), whenever You want (even if it’s not as soon as I want), and do whatever You want (even if it’s not medical work).”
Wow. God has sooo much patience with me. I am so humbled by that.
Yet I meant what I prayed. I was (and am) willing to let go of what my vision is of helping others to let God show me what He has in mind. And I know He has great things in store for us, because He told us so:
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
Sometimes, God is just waiting for us to get ourselves out of the way to implement the next stage of our lives – for it was about 1 week after I prayed (and He knows my heart and that I was sincere) that we got matched with our assignment in Cape Town, South Africa.
So in preparing for this current, short-term missions trip to the Children’s Nest Orphanage in Choma, Zambia, I am trying to keep my vision clear – to allow God the space to work in me and through me. I imagine there may be time on the 15-hour flight ahead to be still and know that He is in control.
And I know that if I stay out of the way, He will do great things.
– By Tracy