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A New Maddie

“First’s are hard. First day of pre-k First breakup. First time driving. First broken bone. They’re hard because you don’t know what to expect.

This is my first mission trip, and in all honesty, I had no idea what to expect. It was also my first time out of the country. The only person I knew coming into this was Maddie H. I’ve never been away from home for this long, never seen this much of the world, never seen God work in these kinds of ways. And let me tell you – it’s overwhelming. But it’s an AMAZING “first.”

I’ve done short, one-week mission trips with my youth group, but never far from home. I’ve done service work in the area. But my dream has always been to go somewhere…somewhere far. And here I am, thousands of miles from home, in a house with 16 other people and sketchy plumbing. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

God is showing me a lot while I’m here. He’s showing me the difference between physical and spiritual need. He’s showing me what true joy is supposed to feel like. He’s showing me that it is possible to survive without running water 24/7 (don’t worry, it’s back on now). He’s showing me the importance of family and community. And He’s showing me who I am.

Warning to all those who know me back home: the old Maddie isn’t coming home. She ran off, hopefully for good. Instead you get a new Maddie. Don’t be deceived – we look quite similar. But this Maddie found something she so desperately needed. She found true joy. So I urge you to welcome this new Maddie with open arms. Ask her about how God worked to reshape her through her experiences in Swaziland. Because I know she’d love to tell you.

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