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Thursday, May 24, 2012

So by now I’ve been in Burkina Faso for nearly three weeks and most of you should at least know by now that I was going to Africa for 6 months starting May 5th 2012.  I’ve been planning on writing a blog for about 3 weeks now and everyday I intend to write my first entry but I’ve just gotten caught up in so many other activities going on here and when I do have the time, the internet usually doesn’t work the way I would like it to.  Or at least I keep telling myself that.  I’ve gotta blame it on something!  So anyway, here is the first blog entry of my time in Africa.
I would love to tell you all about this country but first I just want to tell you why in the world I’m here.  In a brief explanation why…I have no idea!  But I do know without any doubt in my heart that I was called to be here.  About a year ago I got word that a good friend was planning a trip to take a mission trip to Burkina.  Well, actually he called me the night before telling me there was a meeting the next morning explaining all the details of the trip.  So pretty much, I had a couple hours to think about it and decided to go.  This wasn’t his first trip here but it would be mine.  I wasn’t totally sure why I was going on that particular trip but felt for some reason that it was going to lead to a drastic change in my life and darn it if I wasn’t right. 

So after the meeting we had a few months to get to all of our stuff together and get the plans organized before we left on our trip at the end of July 2011.  It was a two week trip to do some much needed work that helped the mission there and we saw a lot of things that would break anybody’s heart.  It was an eye-opening experience to say the least.  Sometime during those two weeks in Burkina I got a whisper in my ear.  Actually, it was my good friend and a couple other people just casually telling me that I would do well in Burkina.  Well, whatever that meant, it started a roller coaster effect in my heart.  I believe God speaks through the people around you sometimes and I believe he did during those moments but after we got back home I just couldn’t settle down.  The whispers kept coming and I knew who it was but repeatedly shrugged it off thinking, “That’s just crazy”.  I’ve got too much going on in America right now.  I’d been trying to get a good permanent job with the government for over a year by this point and had put all my eggs into one basket.  I would have to drop everything to go do what I’m doing now.  Over the next six months I applied for job after job and never heard back on anything and this may sound crazy but I knew right when I applied for every one of those positions that God was going to shut the door.  I knew it and I can’t even explain how I knew it.  I just did.  Every avenue I tried to take to keep myself in America would shut down.  At the time it was a little depressing and it had me stressed out a little bit.  I knew God wanted me to come here to Burkina but I just wouldn’t give in.  I wanted to stay on the west side of the Atlantic and I kept on saying no, over and over. 

As time went on, God kept his finger in my back and it wore me down.  It felt like I was carrying a burden that I thought I could carry but God kept stacking the weights on.  It became emotionally and mentally draining and I was exhausted from thinking about it.  I tried to make every excuse for myself not to go.  First of all, it was just a crazy idea.  I have a degree in construction.  What in the world could I do for a mission?  Well, I already knew the answer to that, but it sounded like a good excuse anyway.  Second, it was going to cost me $14,000 to spend six months in another country.  It was a little overwhelming to me to think about.  In the scheme of things, it really wasn’t a fortune compared to what America spends on everything else they want but I had a problem.  Between the plans and fund raising for another trip that was scheduled in March 2012, if I did go back to Burkina for 6 months I would have to go back in May and that would leave me about a month to raise all my funds.  I thought, no possible way. Then there was that finger in my back again and it kept digging in deeper.  I explained to God, like he didn’t know what was going on, that there was no way I could raise $14,000 in a month.  As clear as day, I heard “try Me”. 
Finally, I had come to the point where I had about run out of time to even decide to go or not.  I thought maybe if I can just make it a few more weeks then I won’t have to worry about it.  It’ll be too late by then and I’m going for two weeks in March anyways so it’s no big deal.  Apparently that didn’t work for God.  He finally made me realize that if I didn’t go, that I would be being disobedient.  I couldn’t bare the thought of being a disappointment to God.  To be given this opportunity and to completely turn it down, I just didn’t think I could bare it.  I finally gave in and said yes.  I turned in my application and the necessary paperwork and all that burden and weight and that finger disappeared within an instant.  Now, what in the world had I gotten myself into?
Thankfully God had surrounded me with some very encouraging friends and family, The Church that completely supported this whole idea, and an awesome mother who jumped in right behind to help get me where I am today.  I just want you to know that this was not my idea whatsoever.  God planned it and God willed it.  He also kept to His promise.  All that money I had to raise that I was so overwhelmed with, it all came in during the course of three and a half weeks. 

I think to myself about that all the time even while I sit here three weeks later in Burkina in a room where it’s 90 degrees. God is amazing.  I hear people that say, “Why should we be amazed at what God can do?  Why should we even be surprised?”  And we shouldn’t be surprised but why not be amazed at what God can do?  I think we should always stand in amazement because whatever He just did...He can do so much more.  If God wants you somewhere and you are willing, He will get you there.