Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Goodbye Africa!

After over 30 hours of traveling and a layover in Spain, Isaac & I are back in Costa Rica! One of the debrief questions we were asked by our leader was "What were some personal triumphs, heartaches, successes and failures?"  

Here is how I responded:

Our outreach started out feeling like a failure because we were denied the visa to Zimbabwe.  It was something that shocked me, because while we were still in Costa Rica, the Lord very clearly reminded me of the story of when Jacob wrestled with God.  After this, he then went to a city named Peniel.  Peniel was the name of the orphanage in Zimbabwe, and I believed it was a clear message from God that that is where we were to go for outreach.

Then we went to Lesotho after having been denied the visa, and planned to go to a ministry called Beautiful Gate.  The week before we left for Lesotho, we just prayed and didn’t tell anyone of our plan because we wanted God to do it and not think of a plan b in our own minds.  At least 4 separate times that week people emailed us encouraging us with the story of Peter in the Bible when he went to the place called Beautiful Gate.  The ministry also invited us, and all the doors opened for us to go there.  However, once we were in Lesotho we learned the amount that Beautiful Gate charged for us to live and serve with them, and it was more then two times our budget.  It was yet again another disappointment.  We spent 3 months living in Lesotho and working at God’s Love Centre- a place where there are no Christian workers.  We saw how God led us to Africa, and led us to Lesotho, but then closed the doors for us to work with ministries that already had Christian worker and sent us to a place were there were no “workers in the fields.”  

We experienced the exact same situation when we left Lesotho and tried to go to work with a different orphanage in Namibia.  We all were denied visas for that country, and ended up in Mozambique working with a ministry where there are no children’s workers.  There were people that criticized, that didn’t understand the situation and even asked us “Did you even pray before you came to Africa?”  It was hard to hear comments from people, especially after I was sure that God had spoken directly to me about this outreach with specific names of where we were going.  Now, after looking back, I can see that God DID call us here, and he used known organizations to bring us to Africa, and then led us to unknown organizations that have never had children’s workers, or in the case of Lesotho, Christian volunteers.

One huge success of mine, was that after 3 months of encouraging the director of the orphanage in Lesotho to send her mentally challenge 4 year old to school, she emailed me at the end of January to tell me she was sending him to school and that he was loving it.  Another success was getting our visas to enter to Mozambique in less then 4 hours.  Then, the day after we arrived to Mozambique, 2 volunteers came from Chile to set up a child sponsorship program.  However, they didn’t speak any English, so we knew another reason God had sent us there was to be able to translate for the guys who had also come to serve the children.

One triumph of mine was seeing that I could actually do what God has called me to do.  Since I was a child, it has been my dream to minister to children who don’t know Jesus.  While we were in Mozambique, we were preaching and teaching children about Jesus- children who had no knowledge of who Jesus was.  While in Mozambique we lived without electricity, in the middle of nowhere.  In the past, as I’ve dreamed about doing what I’ve just completed, I’ve wondered if I would be able to make it- if I had a strong enough character to live like the people live and minister in those kinds of conditions.  I can now say, that God has given me the character and ability to work in the bush with nothing, and that His Spirit is alive in me to teach these children about their Creator and Savior.  

I want to thank everyone who has been involved in the process of sending, praying, encouraging, and giving.  Thank you for helping me get to Africa.  It's been a dream of mine to go there & work with the children.  My new dream now, is to go back for a longer time, perhaps 2 years working in a community.  It is not my next step, but a dream God has put in my heart for the future.

1 comment:

Melissa Talbot said...

Hi Karen!!

Just finished reading this blog post and was particularly touched by it for it reminded me of my very own DTS Outreach Phase!!! How we knew God had called all of us to remain in the country of Costa Rica, and minister throughout, but we didn't quite know what we would be up against.

I recall, specifically, a time when we were on our way to an orphanage in the province of Alajuela and the Lord began speaking to me, saying, "No orphanage." At the time, we were also at a stand still due to getting stuck in the mud on a back road in the middle of nowhere...but that would, eventually, lead us to the orphanage.

I went into intense prayer before God, knowing that we were supposed to go to this place and now God was telling me that we weren't supposed to go now?? Turns out that once we did get ourselves out of the mud and made our way to the orphanage that God was right and I was the one who was off. LOL There was no orphanage...it was yet to be completely built.

I can honestly say today that I did chuckle a bit at God's words and how literally I was taking it to be but God's will is His will, not our own. His ways and thoughts are definitely NOT our ways and thoughts. We just have to be willing, in every circumstance, to submit to His will for us and die to our own perception of that same circumstance and be willing to serve. No matter what.

Thank you for being a shining example of obedience, even though things appeared to be going wrong...they were actually going right all along. :D

Love you,

Melissa Talbot