One of my most favorite people in the whole wide world lives and works in Niger, each time Lisa is home we talk about the "one day" when I will come and visit her at her house. First it was her African home in Benin, then she moved to Niger so our "dreaming" was about visiting there - Thinking ONE DAY.... likely a day far off when my girls were all done with school, self supporting and independent, then maybe we would make the trip. ONE DAY was a far off & distant dream, never in my wildest dreams did I imagine I would be going this soon, or going alone, without my husband - funny thing is that God had that planned right from the beginning.....
Four years ago our church was planning a missions Trip to Cuba.... I was interested in going. Cuba would be cool, I had never been and I would love to go help the people there in what ever way I could. They had just been hit with some very serious hurricanes, I am good in emergency situations, and am willing to work, I could be useful in that situation. I attended the information meeting feeling hopeful, then left that meeting kind of sad. The dates they were planning on going would not work for me as I would be recovering from surgery at that time. That was Cuba trip #1 - down and out of the question for me.
The next year Cuba trip #2 was being planned, I thought, great another opportunity to go and serve. I went to the information meeting knowing that my health was good, that there were no surgeries on the horizon, the dates could work, maybe this year was my year to go.... Nope, God made it pretty clear that Royd was to go, so I would be staying home with the girls. Cuba trip #2 - down and out for another year for me.
Late last year the plans were in the works for Cuba trip #3 - surely this would be a good year for me to go. As I was praying, I kept getting this impression of Africa, my initial thoughts were... Yes, one day I would LOVE to go to Africa, but right now Cuba is the opportunity at hand, it sounded good to me. Africa came back to my mind again and again. I kept thinking Cuba, I am willing to go, I want to go. Then Royd came and said, I think I should be going back to Cuba and I kept thinking of Africa.... O.K. I get it God. Royd is going to Cuba and I have to wait and one day I will go to Africa. Cuba trip #3 - 3 strikes and I am really out this time.
At first I was a little ticked, I was willing to go, but it seemed that God had plans for others to go that did not include me....I admit I pouted inwardly about that for a little while, I can throw a pretty good pity party when I let myself. I really wanted to go, to meet the people Royd had met the previous year, to see the sights I had heard about, sigh, it simply was not meant to be. Then I really started to think about the 3 no go's to Cuba and the whispers of Africa - and finally I said, o.k. God do you want me to go to Africa? Once I stilled and truly asked what the Africa impressions were all about, I got it - God wanted me to go to Africa. I just did not know when and to do what, but I was willing, whenever that happened to be, to go. Still thinking several years down the road.
Within days, of me saying to God "I get it" I received an email from Chantelle, the director of the Niger Girls at Risk School. Chantelle was extending an invitation to come to Africa and help her and her team with some extra projects at school with the girls before the school year officially starts. She was looking for women to come to Africa to help teach sewing classes / projects for 2 - 3 weeks in September. It was like a little light came on and I could see the sign on the wall that said... "see daughter I had something planned all along, something tailored just for you" Africa, a dream come true, needs that fit within my skill set, with girls the same age as my own, at the school where I have been paired up to pray for one of the students for the past year. The pieces of the puzzle were falling into place, the timing and 3 strike outs with Cuba made sense now. I was going to Africa..... it took a bit for it to sink in but I am going to AFRICA... it still seems a little surreal, it is how God works things out and grants us the desires of our hearts beyond what we could ever imagine.
I am AFRICA bound.....