Veloma.

Man, this post has been a long time coming and I have just been putting it off. Tried writing one and it didn’t sit right, so here I am, twenty-four hours before I board a plane bound for the States trying to pull words together for my final blog post in Madagascar.
I hate goodbyes. They make my throat hurt and I tend to cry when I don’t want to, completely lacking the mental ability to formulate the words that I want to say in that moment as I leave people I love. I remember this story my parents always tell me about a breakdown I had when I was about four years old. My entire family went to the SeaTac airport to see my grandparents off after a two week visit. We hugged them goodbye and they boarded the plane, leaving the five of us lined up on those uncomfy leathery seats facing the window, just staring at those little men in orange uniforms carting luggage around. The wheels of the giant aircraft started to roll backwards, so I got up and went to the window, hands pressed against the glass. Then I did it. I bawled. Howled actually. It didn’t take long before my dad had joined me at the window and tears leaked out of his eyes. Along came my sister and then my momma. We all stood there, bawling our eyes out.
It would be highly inappropriate for me to cry obnoxiously in the middle of the Ivato airport, but I wish I could. I might try to stifle the howl with some tissues. Yes, there are so many things I will miss, but mainly my heart is breaking over people. I want to mention all of them individually and list out for you what I adore in every single one of them.. But they are getting letters from me and I can ramble on in those. God surrounded me with glorious, broken, growing people. I am forever grateful. They are irreplaceable and hold a spot in my heart that others wont ever be able to occupy. You just cant take their spot. I have contemplated the distance that will be between us, the lack of hugs and honest chats and the removal of my presence from Mada. It’s terrifying and I feel my heart seize a little bit. I am leaving and no one is traveling back with me. I am leaving and I might never see them again. I am leaving and am headed back to America, a world superpower after living in a third world country for nine months. My mind hasn’t stopped for days. It just keeps racing. I’m not sure what about, but all I know is that it just goes and goes. So I decided to give it all up. I handed over everything to hands much bigger than mine. I entrusted my friends to God and asked that He hold them in grace so deep that they never leave. I released my fears of being forgotten and replaced and reached a realization that life will move on without me and that’s great. God fills in the gaps. I chose to trust God with my future and believe that He is already there. From poverty to riches, He is still God and He still works in both contexts.
I wrote in my very first blog post last September that though I have no idea what the future holds, I know God will meet me, for that is who He is. That still rings true.

Pray for me tomorrow, as I leave this little African island and reconnect with that inner four year old that is sure to come out as I say my goodbyes.

See you all stateside.

Embarking.

I am having a hard time grasping the truth of what is currently transpiring in my life at this point in time. In less than twenty-four hours I will board a plane bound for Chicago. Chicago is not my final destination. Not even close. I am headed to the African island of Madagascar. For nine months, I will take on a volunteer position teaching English in a local school and nearby seminary. I will be living on the top floor of an AIM (Africa Inland Mission) apartment on the outskirts of town. I will be receiving training upon arrival and given more information about the assignment that has been extended to me. I know that I’ll probably eat quite a bit of rice.. and wear skirts. Other than that, I am aware of little else.

My heart has wrestled this past summer. Wrestled with the fear of the unknown and the foreign, with feelings of inadequacy (which are abounding, given the fact that I am a mere 19 years of age with no degree of any kind). I have secretly struggled with doubts about God’s ability to provide $12,114 in about 5 months time. (We all say we trust Him, but when the rubber hits the road, when the time seems to run out, are we actually settled? Do we feel safe resting secure in His hands or does panic quietly seize our hearts?) In all honesty, loneliness is rumored to be an insurmountable struggle at times when people go on trips like these. They say month 6 is when it really hits, or maybe during big holidays like Christmas. You’re likely to get sick, spend a little time in the bathroom, that sorta thing. Oh, and did you know that Ebola is sweeping across Africa? I have heard all of other people’s concerns on my behalf and had waves of my own fear grip my heart and cause panic to rise and regret to surface before I have even left the country.

Emotions are deeply strung within the framework of man. It is hardwired into our nature. Most of us are utterly dependent on them! They urge us here or there, string us along in this direction or that, and can work us into an absolute frenzy. It’s quite ridiculous. Most often our emotions have no substance of reality behind them. No truth is contained in them. My feelings would’ve long ago told me to get the heck out! Do something reasonable. Go to school. Get that degree. Get married. But praise God! He is far beyond the sensible or reasonable. Oh, how He has shown me that He is beyond being confined. He is “able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think (Eph 3:20a).” The truth of who God is has been further confirmed in my heart during this whole process. He has met me. I am $2000 above my target amount and climbing. I have been brought to tears by the generosity of family and friends who have given without hesitation. I have felt the depth of His love through them. I have been upheld in prayers prayed on my behalf that He has faithfully answered. He sorted out little details with ease, settled my heart on the daily, and realigned my feelings time and time again with the truth. He has met me and will continue to meet me. For that is who He is.