I'm sitting at the dining table at the home of a friend, a sister. The sun is trying hard to throw rays through the cloud covered sky while through the window I see chipmunks running happily through the beautiful garden, their small happy movements say thank you for our home. A bird alights on the Burgundy tree and its branch moves up and down by the weight of this small creature. I'm in my childhood town visiting my friend before she leaves on a 2 year mission with the Peace Corps. She's going to Swaziland to teach about HIV/AIDS, the country who has the highest rate of AIDS in Africa.
It'll be the longest time she's been gone from home and likely one of the most challenging, yet fulfilling experiences she'll have. Like marriage, having children, or changing careers she waits in unanswered anticipation because in two weeks everything will be different and there is only so much you can prepare. She has the gear and we've made sure the solar shower doesn't leak and the solar charger does charge, that she has enough clothes and enough toiletries to last for a few months. It is interesting because she knew she wanted to join the Peace Corps, but it was a surprise to her that Swaziland became an option.
I recently read that it isn't wrong to dream, and it isn't wrong to go for those dreams, but when you shake the apple tree do not be surprised if you receive oranges. Her life and experience certainly exposes this sweet truth (no pun intended). Indeed having known her for almost our whole life we've seen each other change. From the marine biologist photographer she's become a social worker, who loves caring for others, travel, and of course the expanse and adventure of the oceans waves- Swaziland is yet another step to her journey.
I think for me, when I see her journey, I see two specific things at play, choice and God's sovereignty. She's made choices based on things she loves and her own talents and God has opened the doors for her to make effective change, both with others and internally. My hope and my prayer to her, as she follows this path is first, that she may go, as Joseph did, with strength and courage into the land of the foreigners. Additionally, when times are difficult or hard, or both, she will know there is a purpose to her story.
Much love friend- blessings on your journey.
(If you want more information or wish to follow her story, click here)