I was the girl that was never going to be a missionary, especially to Africa. As a child, I envisioned a land full of jungles and large animals. That was enough to keep me away, far far away. But, God had different plans.
I started hearing about Africa my freshman year in college. I worked at a summer camp where missionaries would come and tell their stories. For some reason, they kept inviting missionaries from Africa. I became intrigued. Around this time, Bono (leader singer of U2 and my personal hero) began visiting different Christian colleges and churches. He reminded them what the Bible says about helping widows and orphans and told them about this continent called Africa that was full of such needy people.
I moved beyond intrigued. I wanted to go.
As God would have it, that next year I met a Kenyan girl who became a wonderful friend. We planned a trip to work with her parents in Kenya and in August of 2005, I landed on Kenyan soil. I would never be the same again. I describe that trip by describing the gifts of the Spirit. God flows these gifts in us like a funnel and they then funnel out of us to those around us. God flowed His everlasting and indescribable love in and through me. I had a deep love for these people that I barely knew. It was something that I had never felt before. Another trip to Kenya in 2007 as well as a degree in Inter-Cultural Studies later, and I knew God was up to something big.
As I wrestled with where God was going to take me, I tried to be open and willing for God to send me anywhere. As I cried out, "Here I am, Lord, send me ANYWHERE!", God would whisper back, "I've put Africa on your heart for a reason". We went back and forth for awhile; me determined to be open and willing, Him whispering specifics. He never tired and He never gave up. I at last "got it". I saw an opportunity to work with Hope Alive! and knew it was exactly where God wanted me to be. Although I was going to be working an administrative job that wasn't what I love, it was going to give me the opportunity to see if I could live in Africa and love it as well as what opportunities there would be for me if I went long term.
The unthinkable happened: I loved living in Africa. Kampala is a chaotic city that soon became home. I started a Bible study with the high school girls in my church and straight up fell in love with them.
They were tough cookies that needed a lot of love and care...and they were worth it. The more I got to know them, the more I saw their need. There were physical needs but it all went so much deeper than that. There were emotional needs and above all, spiritual needs. I knew that I wanted to do more...but what? How could this need be met?
The answer? Found in The Ministry.