A Life Beyond My Wildest Dreams

When I was in elementary school, I never would have imagined that the Lord would choose me for the mission field. I was always intrigued by the missionaries that visited my church- their lives seemed so exotic and so adventurous- but the idea of me being a missionary was beyond my wildest dreams. I believed that I was too young, too scared, too insignificant for something so amazing. But God believed otherwise.

As I grew up, the Lord stirred in me a passion and a calling for international missions. I went on several short-term trips, but a still small voice promised me that the Lord had even more in store. I just had to be patient and wait for His timing. Earlier this year, I came across an organization called Adventures in Missions, and was immediately intrigued. On AIM’s website, there was a trip for high school students to a country called Swaziland that immediately caught my eye; I never even looked at the trips to other countries. The trip sounded amazing, but it seemed the world had a thousand reasons as to why I shouldn’t go. I hadn’t heard of Swaziland. It was on the other side of the world. The price tag seemed huge. A month away from the people I love sounded scary. My parents would never say yes. I was going to be a senior so I should spend the summer working on college stuff, right? Going to Africa for a month sounded like an impossible dream, not a reality. But God said GO.

Well, it’s been four months since I officially committed to this trip, and here I am in Manzini, Swaziland, surrounded by teammates that I love, overflowing with joy, hugging precious children, and filled with the Lord. I am so unbelievably grateful that God said GO. This is the adventure of a lifetime. It’s better than I could have ever dreamed. I am learning so much. And every day, I am reminded that my God is so incredibly good.

On our first day of ministry, any doubt that Africa wasn’t where I was supposed to be was completely taken away. As we got off the bus at the Carepoint for the first time, the kids ran straight up to us, fighting to be held or even hold our hands. These preschoolers had the biggest smiles and the most contagious laughs and the goofiest sense of humor. As I sat there in the dirt, one girl played with/pulled my hair, a boy wiped his boogers on my shoes and messed with my shoelaces, two kids sat in my lap, and another boy sat by my side holding my hand. In the midst of apparent chaos and filth, I was instead filled with unspeakable joy. I was beyond content. This was exactly where God wanted me to be.

Last week at one of the Carepoints, I held a girl who seemed even worse off than the rest of the kids. She was so gentle and so beautiful, and my heart broke for her. As she sat there eating the only meal she would have all day, I just began praying over her and her future. I prayed that she would grow up to know and love the Lord and that His fruit would be so abundant in her life. I prayed that He would take care of her every need. Then, she did something that took my breath away. This sweet girl offered her food to me. She saw I wasn’t eating (even though I am very well fed) and was willing to give up all she had just so that I could eat a little. In that moment, I was nearly brought to tears as I was once again reminded of God’s goodness and generosity. I saw Him in this young girl, but I also saw who God wanted me to be: generous, kind, and selfless. What a cool lesson learned in the most beautiful of ways.

It’s crazy to me that ever since I was young, God has been walking with me on a journey that has led me to where I am now. Every step of the way, He was there, preparing my heart and opening doors for this trip and for what’s to come. When I am living in Him and His plan, my life is a dream- the best possible dream. It’s life to the fullest. God wants to give each person this same life. He has a plan laid out for everyone back at home in the US, but also for each child living in poverty in Africa. He wants to take each person on a journey beyond their wildest dreams. Because here’s the cool thing: God’s love knows no age, no social class, no gender, no culture, no language, no disability. God’s love is for all people. What an amazing reminder. My God is so good, and I am so grateful.

Written by: Caroline 

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