So if you’re here you probably know I’m off to Africa in September. I’m aware that not everyone knows the full story of how the trip has come about. So i’m taking a risk and I’m gonna tell you the full story.
No doubt some will think me mad and maybe you’ll be skeptical but it’s ok. We’re all on our own faith journey right? So here’s a little of mine.
– January –
New Years resolutions
– write more letters
– be braver
Early in the year I went to a meeting at church run by EFOL Ministries. In short it’s an awesome ladies meeting where we discuss the Bible, worship and have breakfast together. The topic was future plans and putting our determination where our desires were. We sat with a blank piece of paper in front of us and prayed, then wrote down our dreams and what we thought God was saying to us.
I figured out I have three dreams:
– To travel
– To teach
– To write a book.
At that meeting I put those dreams into God’s hands and started thinking about what happens next.
God and I sat and chatted – actually I sat with a notebook and pen in hand and drew a massive spider diagram of the things I dreamed of doing and the things that were stopping me. As I wrote and listened, everything I wrote down God had an answer for. When I made excuses like ‘I don’t have the money, I’m not trained enough, I’m not smart enough.’ God came back with ‘When has money stopped you before? I equip the called and stop making excuses! We’ve got work to do.’
I began praying for an open door – an opportunity to take on a new challenge and adventure. My housegroup family began praying too and have been faithfully following the journey ever since.
I remember around this time I’d also had a conversation with a friend about future plans and I’d said to him that I couldn’t think or see really what I’d be doing in September. Which at the time seemed madness as it was assumed I’d be starting a new year in my job at college.
I talked to that same friend and youthworker about maybe going back to Brazil or Nepal to teach. I began to feel like I was comfortable at church – too comfortable. He told me ‘wait… aren’t you comfortable in Brazil and Nepal, you’ve been there before, you know what to expect. When you talk about Brazil and Nepal, it makes me think you should be talking about Africa, maybe Kenya.’
– ‘You’re comfortable in Brazil and Nepal, how is that getting out of your comfort zone?!’ He hit the nail on the head, In that moment I knew there was another adventure ahead. Maybe it was Africa…’
So I started to look online at familiar companies that I had travelled with before but I couldn’t find anything that felt right. Nothing fitted properly.
In church one Sunday morning as we were singing I got lost in worship, and, here’s where it gets odd .. I saw a vision. As I had my eyes shut singing away to God I suddenly saw a blinding white light as though the sun was shining in my eyes. The light cleared to reveal a bright blue sky and I heard the words – in my own voice – ‘Remember me when you see the blue skies of the Sahara.’
Seeing things like that isn’t a usual thing for me, if anything when people used to say they’d seen things from God i’d be a lot skeptical, I’d let them get on with that and think … ok, that’s how God talks to them but not to me.
After that service I stepped into the prayer room for the first time and prayed it out .. If you know me well you know it takes a lot for me to cry and I especially don’t cry in church, but in that prayer room the walls came down, the tears fell and I felt relieved to have a plan and excited that God was moving in my life.
– April –
So I pray again and begin looking online for opportunities and that’s when I find http://www.missionafrica.org and a project in Africa. The irony being I was praying for an open door and the project is called ‘Open doors’! But still I wasn’t certain that this was the project for me. I read about it. It appeared perfect. Working in an SEN school as a teaching assistant, a job I knew I could do – so I email the guy listed on the website to see if they’ll have me for a few months.
At that same time I mentioned to friends about my interest in going to Africa and when I mentioned where in Africa they were really firm in telling me no.
No way! It’s too dangerous, you shouldn’t be going there.
I was grateful for their honesty and opinion, I knew it came from some very loving hearts. I came away from those conversations doubting that the ‘Open Doors’ project was for me but still in the back of my mind a part of me did not want to put it down or give up on it just yet.
– Then I get an email from the company asking me to fill out an application-
– I prayed, filled out the form and sent it back –
With an uneasy heart I talked to another friend who said I should ‘lay out a fleece’ and ask God for a specific sign that He wanted me to go on this adventure. She told me a story about her own experience and how God had confirmed His plans for her when she asked. So I went home and sat with God, and asked for a sign.
Please put Nigeria in or on my hands.
No more, no less, that’s what I asked. I have to admit I was looking at my hands for a little while after that prayer, not sure what I expected to happen but nothing changed. They just stayed as my hands.
The next day I kept my eyes open but heard nothing. The day that followed was the first day of term after the Easter holidays. On my way to work in the car I prayed again and asked God again to confirm to me if Nigeria was the place to be and to put it on or in my hands.
So I head into work and start the day, I wasn’t really looking for the answer anymore I just had my eyes open and got into my job. At break time one of the students was filling in a form. I knew that she didn’t really know what the form was for, she was just happy that she could read the words on the paper and respond to what she understood. She began to ask me what the questions said and I told her ‘Well, you don’t really need to fill that out do you?’ but she was persistent, so I picked up the form and went to the question she was asking about. As I did this I flipped over the paper to look at the back and there written was ‘Nigeria, the place where I was born.’
In that moment my heart did a little flip and I realised God had used a student in my job to confirm and point me to the job I would be doing in September.
I thanked the Lord and smiled for the rest of the day, so excited, but not quite able to share the plan. Not yet.
The first person I had to officially tell at work was my manager, I mentioned the idea and said to her that I didn’t know whether to hand my notice in or not, or if there would be a job available for me when I got back. The one thing I was certain of was that either way I had to be in Nigeria in September.
A couple of days later she got back to me and said I could have the time! (Praise God!) and that same day I received an email from Mission Africa accepting me formally for the position. Two more massive confirmations that I should be going!
So little by little I’ve been letting people know and by now it’s pretty much common knowledge 🙂 but I just needed to tell the story. To share how awesome God has been through it all, how so many of you in my life have been used by God to further my journey, whether you’ve realised it or not! And to bear witness that even someone like me can be used for great things and if I can .. so can you!
So I’m inviting you to share the journey! Follow the adventure, be inspired and get involved.
Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters, wherever you will call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my saviour
~ Oceans, Hillsong.