So What Was the Point?


I had been planning for Africa since November.  I started a countdown on my phone with over 200 days until I left for the trip.  I fundraised over $5,000.  I bought “missions” clothes.  I took a month off of work.  Then I went.

  And it was wonderful in every single way.  I experienced God in ways I never have before, and felt his love stronger than ever.  He gave me such peace about knowing that that was where I was supposed to be.  I poured everything I had into the kids and community we were working with, and He renewed me every single day.  I made friendships to last forever, and became a part of a family that will always love and support each other.  I experienced a broken, beautiful country that most people have never heard of.  I felt like myself more than I ever have, and I know that feeling comes from knowing that I’m doing what God wants me to do and being exactly who He made me to be.

  And then I went home.  Now what?

  I’ve been asking myself that question every single day since being back.  Just days after it was all over, I told my family that it felt like a dream.  Did I even go to Swaziland for a month?  Did I really love on my sweet little 3 year old friend Angel every day?  Did God really do those amazing things?  Did I actually change?

  The question that’s been on my mind most, however, is: what was the point?

  Yes, it was a great experience, but did anything really come from it?  Did we just cause those children more pain and abandonment when we came for a couple weeks and left?  Did the things God did inside of me just disappear when I got back to the states, back to my “normal” life?

  These questions can really tear you apart and make you doubt the Lord.  It’s taking me a long time to figure out the answers and come to terms with them, but I’m beginning, with the help of my team and my family.

  Did we just cause the children more pain and abandonment?  It’s hard to know.  But I do know that those kids KNOW that we love them.  Those tears on our last day of ministry weren’t for nothing.  And hopefully through us they felt God’s love.  Some girls even sponsored kids from the care point we were at when we got home, so they’re continuing to receive love from us.  And Adventures in Missions doesn’t just send an Ambassador team once a year.  Teams of all ages and from all over continually go to Swaziland and do just what we did:  dedicate all of their time to love and play with the children.  A team actually went the week after we left.  So those kids get a lot of love, and they know that we traveled a long way to be with them, just so that we could hug and dance and laugh with them, and teach them about God.  And now they have all 17 of us, and maybe some of you, praying for each of them every day.

  Did the things God did inside of me just disappear when I got back to the states, back to my “normal” life?  This is also hard to say.  Outwardly, I hope that I’m a little more compassionate, patient, and joyful than before, but only the people around me would be able to tell you.  Inside, I can for sure tell you that God is working hard and relentlessly.  I am constantly overwhelmed by the Lord’s grace and goodness, and I think my faith is stronger than before, though I know He and I are only getting started together.  I think my heart is more willing and open towards people and the unfamiliar now, which I find both scary and exciting.  My heart is now also able to find joy and humor in almost every situation.  The difference is whether I choose to be joyful in that situation, but I’m continuing to work on that.  I feel more like myself in the way that I’m just going to follow wherever God leads me, and not be shy about being “me” or sharing about my relationship with the Lord.

  I’ve realized that places, people, achievements, and circumstances don’t define me, no matter what society and college applications may fool you into thinking.  That’s been a hard lesson to learn.  The only thing that defines me is God, and He’s shown me that my heart belongs in missions.  Maybe this just means serving in the nursery in church each week, babysitting for a neighbor, or traveling the world to serve His children.  I don’t know what my future has in store for me, but I’m excited for what God has planned.

  And to my supporters- either financially or prayerfully- thank you in all of the ways you’ve encouraged me and helped me to grow in my faith.  There was of course a point to the trip and I’m discovering new blessings from it every day.  And one of those is you; I am thankful for each one of you, so thank you.


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