There truly is no way I could have predicted the final days of my time here in South Africa. Any angle I would have analyzed or could have written for myself is not the way it has unfolded. However, whenever I let God take the reigns and write the story, it always is better than anything I could have expected.
The first reality that I could not have dreamt up, is that my family landed in South Africa this week to spend my last days here with me. I have been able to take them into the fields and share with them what I love so much about JAM and being in South Africa. The incredible part is that I truly believe they loved it as much as I do and they can see God’s hand in the wonderful work that JAM is doing and in my life through JAM. This is such an intimate thing for me to share with my family as they have sacrificed so much to make it possible for me to be here during a difficult time for my family. I have such a strong relationship with my family and they have been so strong waiting for me, praying for me, and supporting me every step of the way. They have such understanding and patient hearts and they deserve every bit of adventure that they are experiencing out here with me!
I was able to take my family to multiple dinners this week to meet families and friends that have looked after me and adopted me into their homes during this 6 month season. I’m very blessed to have grown the relationships I have here in Johannesburg, South Africa. I have family and friends that I consider lifetimers! These are the friends you know will be in it for life with you no matter the distance or space dividing you. I believe we will grow separately, but never apart.
This weekend, I experienced rest for the first time in 6 months. My family and I went to Pilansburg Game Park for the weekeend. I love the bush. I love adventure. I love wildlife. So this was my heaven on earth! My family and I spotted the big 5 and we have had some lovely time catching up on 6 months of chaos and victory.
The second reality I have discovered is that sometimes you can be 1,000% committed to God’s plan for your life and be obedient to Him through the tests and trials of your faith, but you find out that being obedient to the call was all He wanted from you. By the Kingdom of heaven, you are a good and faithful servant whom has passed the tests and trials of His call on your life and that is serving the Lord with excellence.There may or may not be an earthly reward, but you have humbly served your God and He honors us for that.
The third is that the smallest blessings sometimes bear the most fruit. For instance, my 5 year old neighbor Alulutu became a dear friend of mine. We were attached. Everyday I came home from work, I knew I could expect a knock on my door within 5 minutes to go on a walk, talk about our days, or make a fun video sharing our journey together with the world. He helped me see the world through the eyes of a child. He reminded me that everything didn’t have to be complex. He reminded me to pray. He reminded me to have fun. Somedays, he even reminded me to eat. He was my angel.
Though I don’t fully understand what God is doing as this season of my life comes to a close, I do know that He led me to phenomenal people. I learned how to be very independant and practice discernment from sleeping in rural villages to getting into cars in foreign places with people that ended up changing my life. The Lord has tested my faith and I have matured in my walk with Him. I truly believe that there’s nothing I can’t handle with Him after this experience.
“because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.”-James 1:3
I have experienced my greatest joys, greatest defeats, happiest and most uncertain day’s, biggest adventures, and painful heartbreak. I wouldn’t have it any other way. I am so blessed to have had this experience at such a young age. I feel so prepared for the future and so inspired by the things that I have seen. I believe God has big things in store for me as a result of my time here. Though it may not be the way I would have expected, I have faith that His plans are bigger for my life and that doesn’t scare me anymore. That just makes me excited!