Ladies and gentlemen, Sunday is fast approaching. On Sunday afternoon, I will be boarding a plane that will take me away from my home and my loved ones and into a bigger, broader world, filled with all sorts of new things.
Just to update everyone, I will be spending the next 12 weeks or so in Kazembe, Zambia, a village about 18 hours from Lusaka, the capital of Zambia. I will most likely be working with a group of five kindergarten girls, as well as trying my best to fill any needs around the orphanage. I will be working with three volunteers from my time there last summer, as well as two new faces. I’m sure you’ll hear more about all of them in the future.
I will be using this blog for several purposes. I’ll be certain to post basic itinerary information, for those of you who are interested. I’ll keep you updated with the work we will be doing. I’ll relate stories of challenges and successes. I’ll pass on prayer requests for myself, my fellow volunteers, the kids, and the people of Zambia. I’ll write elaborate posts detailing simple life lessons I’ve learned, and make sure to add any funny or cute stories from my students. I’ll try to get photos and video. Depending on time, I have a few ideas to profile various kids, just to give you a better idea of who these children are who have captured my heart. No promises, though – I’m going to be fairly busy.
This year, I have stronger tugs on my heartstrings than I did last summer. After being away at school for a year, I am probably going to miss home a bit more. I am going to miss showering every day. I am going to miss Panera and Chick-Fil-A and Papa John’s. I am going to miss my wonderful family, my awesome friends, both at home and at school, and my amazing boyfriend, Chris. It will not be easy.
But it is going to be so worth it. I know that I am going to learn more in these three months than I ever could in a classroom. I will learn priceless lessons about the world, people, sin, love, forgiveness, suffering, joy, laughter, frustrations, redemptions, successes, failures, and above all I will learn about God. I will also learn a great deal about me. I fully expect to be a different person when I return, and that is a good thing. We are all in the process of being molded and shaped, like pieces of clay being formed into pottery; well, this summer will most likely put me through the furnace once or twice. Of course, pottery goes through the kiln more than once, and as I grow older and move on to different things in my life I will go through different kilns – but Africa is one pretty big, pretty hot kiln.
I hope and pray that I will be able to do important work with the kids and with anyone else we come into contact with while we’re there. I am thrilled to be teaching my girls, and I’m ready with lots of worksheets and fun activities planned. I’m also ready to hold a paintbrush, chop vegetables, wash dishes, take temperatures, fill bottles, change diapers – whatever gets thrown my way. I’m ready.
It’s going to be hard. There are going to be difficult times. We are all going to get tired and worn out. We are going to step on each other’s toes. We are going to lose patience with each other, with the kids, and with a world where people we love are threatened daily by poverty, starvation, and disease. There are going to be tears and heartaches, injuries both inside and out.
But it is also going to be incredible. We are going to see God move in ways we could never even have imagined. We are going to see minds learn, heart change, faces brighten. And none of it will be our doing – it will all be His. All the glory and honor will be His. Every runny nose wiped, every child comforted, every letter learned, every addition problem solved, and every Bible story taught will be taught for Him.
It is going to be a fantastic adventure. And I am so ready for another adventure.