When I was in middle school, the Lord started working on my heart with a strong desire for missions. There are a few ways to get straight to the core of my heart, and one of them is kids from other countries. Any country. Doesn't matter. I see kids who need Jesus and I want to pack up everything and move on over to their part of the world. To be honest I feel the same way about kids here who need Jesus and who come from hard places, but if you want to get straight to my heart there's something about kids from other countries, international adoption, doing VBS on mission trips, etc. that gets me.
But I remember being about ten years old and looking through an adoption book I checked out of the library and thinking, God, I will go anywhere you want me to go, but I don't think I could ever go to Africa, and I don't think I could ever love anything about that continent.
And I think God laughed.
Fast forward a few years, and I was in high school with my best friend Alissa. Somehow we got wind of the battle going on in Uganda for those Invisible Children. We were just two rich white kids who didn't know how to make a lick of difference, but we joined up with thousands of other high school kids and walked four miles and spent the night in a field and we still didn't understand what was going on across the ocean but God used it as a starting place.
A few years later, that same sweet friend from high school packed up everything and moved across the ocean and spends her days being the hands and feet of Jesus one country over in Tanzania. She visits seamstresses and plays with orphans and teaches students how to read and write. They teach her how to dance freely and love deeply and there are some days I'd like to pack up and go live next door to her.
Because something happened between that senior year of high school and now. In the last eight years something has been shifting in my heart. I started reading blogs, and I learned about kids in prison in Uganda for no reason other than the fact that they have no parents or no home, or both. I learned about an orphanage for special needs kids who are shown love for the first time in a society that says they are worthless because they are different. I've seen so many people bring babies home and I learned what scabies are and now I know why they say knowledge is power. Because now I know that God is doing something big in Africa. It's no longer somewhere I don't want to go. Now it's a place I dream about.
But for now, my place is mostly here. Sometimes that keeps my heart confused. But there have been ways that God has been leading me to do what I can from here. Stuff you can do too. Like pray, for one thing. That's something I don't do enough of, but I'm trying to be more intentional about it. There's a reason for that.
Let me introduce the piece of my heart that lives in Tanzania:
Her name is Zainabu and she's 7 years old. The hubs and I signed up to be sponsors through Compassion International. I'm waiting on my packet to come through with more information, but now that I have a face and a financial commitment, you better believe I am motivated to pray! I'm working on my first letter to her, so you know I'll try to keep you updated on her as I find out more. In the meantime, if you feel like joining me, you can head over to Compassion's website and pick a child to sponsor for yourself! Maybe one day soon I'll be able to make that trip to Africa and meet her in person.