Well, I just realized it's been over a month since I last wrote! Crazy how quickly time goes by. Our trip to Tanzania came and went, and it seems like I'm just now having time to breathe! The trip was good. We drove to and from Kenya (about 6 hours each way), built a swing set, held a youth conference, prayed for sick people in an "isolation ward" at the hospital, visited a family of Massai, and even had time for a safari! We packed so much into the nine days we spent there it was hard to process most of what I saw and experienced till I got home.
The trip, overall, was fun. It was good to see my friend Melissa again, and see what God has used her to do. She has such a mother-heart; the children at the orphanage cling to her! We actually got to spend the entire time we were in Tanzania with her. We laughed a lot and still managed to work pretty hard.
I learned so much about what living in a third-world country is like, and how God takes care of His children so well. It was amazing to hear testimony after testimony of His provision and grace. It seems as though in America we have little need for God to come through, even our poorest are richer than many of the people that I met. Yet God reminded me how desperately we still need Him, and how He desires to use the blessings He gives us to bless others.
This concept of giving and sharing was one of the biggest things God spoke to me while I was there. I realize how blessed I am...I've never really questioned it...but I saw how important it is for me to give as much as I can, whenever I can, however I can. It's so easy to get wrapped up in my little world that I forget about the big picture. It was a good wake-up call!
The other thing that He kept impressing on me was this idea of being uncomfortable. Even in our "fancy" hotel room, that most of the locals could never afford, I was worried about safety, germs, and everything else you worry about even in American hotels..."are the sheets really clean?" and so on. But not only there, pretty much everywhere we went there was some level of discomfort. I was uncomfortable physically most of the time to be sure, but also emotionally, spiritually, and even in my thoughts...It took everything within me not to cry most of the time simply because of the poverty and need that surrounded.
I know I'm not called to be a missionary. I was sure of this before I left and even more sure as I practically kissed the ground when we got back to the U.S. But God continued to remind me that even in my calling, and in the life He has given me, He never called me to be comfortable. It seems like a "duh" concept, but when you live comfortably, it's rare to question why you're the one who's blessed, or why you are so comfortable. God's desire is always to stretch us, to change us, to make us more like Him...I think that should rarely be comfortable. It doesn't even sound comfortable! I began to think about how I can be less comfortable in my every day life so that someone else might be a little more comfortable. Can I give up that extra pair of shoes, or that lunch out for the second time this week, so I can give a little more...so maybe a house full of street kids won't go hungry again this week or so an orphanage can pay its electricity bill...
It's not about me, or how much I can do...God will get the job done. It is, however, about whether or not I want Him to use me to do it.