Update from Africa

Hello my beautiful friends!! I guess it’s time to update you guys on what God has been doing in Africa since I have been here. I don’t even know where to begin and I can’t believe it has already almost been a month since I have been here! Time is going so fast, and I’m having to hold on tight to make sure I don’t miss anything. The team left last Wednesday and honestly, it’s been hard not having them here. I struggle with finding purpose these days and I feel like I have way more free time than I should. We finally had our orientation meeting with Annmarie yesterday to talk about what our schedules will look like while we are here. That was helpful, but we still haven’t officially started our duties yet. I’m just trying to be patient and make the most of the spare time I have right now, because I know that soon enough I will be very busy.

Patience. I would say that is definitely something God is stretching me in. Life here is so different than in America. People are more laid back, when you say you are going to have a meeting at nine it may not happen until ten, and when they say they will find you an apartment next week, it will probably end up being in a month. They don’t live by schedules and ticking clocks here. It is something I really have to learn to adjust to, and to trust that they are taking care of everything. My patience was also tested with the team a lot. It was challenging and frustrating at times, but in all it was so incredibly good. We had a lot of first timers, so there were complaints about the food, complaints about lack of sleep, and sometimes just attitude and sarcasm problems. I learned so much about being a leader in the week and a half the team was there. God showed me how to love them through correction, how to have compassion and put myself in a place of having never been on project before, and more than anything to continue to express the heart behind everything we were doing and to continue to cast vision to them daily. It really is true that without vision, God’s people will perish. In allowing God to lead through me, I got to become so close to a group of people that I probably never would have gotten to know otherwise. They loved on me in return, they made me laugh so much, they encouraged me in their testimonies, and they challenged me in my walk with God. I was also challenged in having to co-lead with Raven and Evan. I was really humbled and I had to recognize that not everyone is going to lead the same way as me, and they shouldn’t. We are different, and God made us that way for a reason.  We each have something to contribute, and that’s a beautiful thing. The three of us had to die to ourselves a lot, and come to the compromise of doing what we felt was best for the team, not just what we wanted to do. This was very challenging, but so good and necessary for me to learn. It definitely opened my eyes to understanding more of how working in ministry with other people looks like. It’s not always easy, but when you learn to come together and just put God’s will first, it is so good.

We also had a team of very hard workers. Our work consisted of picking rice at the school, mudding a hut, helping build a hut, and for one day Inoque had us clearing a road at gorgoni using plows and rakes. That day was exhausting. Through it all though, the team had a good attitude and they really did work their hardest. It was an awesome experience to put ourselves in the shoes of people who live here. They pick rice to have food, and they have to build and mud their own houses, using branches and other things they get from the earth. I think it was a good experience for all of us to have our perspectives changed, and to really understand how some people here live. It definitely rocked my world a little bit, and I am being reminded daily how truly blessed I have been growing up, and I never really realized it until I came to Africa and saw how people on the other side of the world have to live. However, I find myself feeling inferior in my spiritual walk to the people who live here. They have such a desire and excitement and hunger for God, and it shows in how they worship, in how they talk, and in how they live. In all honesty, I feel as if they are better off than me. They recognize that God is the only one who can sustain them, and they don’t try to store up earthly treasures. Maybe they don’t have the means to store up these earthly treasures and so they have to turn to and depend on God wholly, but I find myself feeling jealous of them. It’s kinda silly I know, but it’s like they have the gospel figured out. They don’t cling to earthly things, they cling to God. Now some of them may not have the choice to cling to earthly things, so they have no choice but to cling to God. However, I want to be able to cling to God always, even when I do have the choice to cling to earthly things.

Dependance. I am learning that I have to depend on God, or I’m not going to make it these eight months. In places where I would expect my family or you guys to comfort me, I have to allow God to comfort me. I can’t be dependent on people here to comfort me, because I will just be disappointed and my high expectations will be shattered (it’s already happened with raven and we had to have a nice heart to heart about it haha.) I was made aware today of just how vulnerable I’m feeling. Everything is different here. The culture, the people, the language, and how things are done. I can communicate with about a handful of people who speak English, and everywhere I go I get stared at, or I get overcharged because I’m American. I am definitely feeling out of place, and it makes me miss you guys and everyone back home so much. However, I am being forced to depend on God and I am glad for that, because I want to learn what it means to truly, with everything I have, depend on God and make Him my everything.

I guess that is all for now! I have gotten a schedule and will start to settle into a routine soon, so I will tell you more about what I’m actually doing in my next post! I miss you guys every day. I can’t wait to hear how ya’ll are doing! Love you my sisters. Continue to pray that I will live life here courageously, and not in fear. Mwah!

 

Jamie

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I thought you might like to see these kiddos Reg. They are so old now! They definitely miss you, and so do I.

 

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2 thoughts on “Update from Africa

  1. Wow, James! What an exciting month! I am so pumped for everything God is doing there. I can’t wait to see what these coming months hold for you. Even just through letters on a screen I can tell that you’ve grown so much already! Patience and dependence… those are both lessons I feel like I have to learn over and over again. So glad that God is the perfect dad and doesn’t get tired of teaching us!

    Also, I cannot believe how big those babies have gotten! Terezina is SO beautiful! I could cry! That family has good genes! 😉 Tell her I told you so… and that I miss them! I love you and miss you, James. So proud of you!

  2. That was beautiful my dear! I feel like you are speaking a new language, one of growth and distinction in the Kingdom. I am so proud and excited to read more of who you are. And i can’t wait for another fun skype date! Boom! Miss you and love you, James!

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