A Heart for Africa

Apr 5th, 2012 by Birdie in Faith, Inspirations, Life, Musings

I just completed my application for Africa Inland Mission‘s TIMO program and mailed it out this afternoon. I’m incredibly excited. Over the last few weeks, I’ve done a lot of reading about the Sakalava people and the ministry that AIM is trying to build with them, and the more I read, the more my heart aches to go.

I feel as if I’ve been answering the same question to all of my friends over the last couple weeks. Everyone is so curious to know what brought on my desire to go to Africa, so I thought that here would be as good a place as any to share the answer.

I’m not really sure how it started, except that I had been comfortable and content with my job and my quiet life and my home church, and then suddenly I wasn’t anymore. I was restless and discontent and this little seed of something—I hesitate to call it wanderlust, because that makes it sound fleeting and fickle, but I can’t seem to find another word more fitting—took root in my heart.

I reached out to my friends and family that Saturday night when I realized my restlessness. I think my exact text to them was something along the lines of, “I am so restless and bored. I feel like I need adventure and change. I’m not content.” The overwhelming response was to pray. After blogging about my restlessness (Clearly, I find that writing things out helps me to process how I’m feeling and identify potential reasons for those feelings.) I prayed and asked God to reveal the reason for my restlessness.

The next morning, my church welcomed back one of our own from her two years with her TIMO team in Africa. And that tiny seed started to grow. After the service, I spoke with her briefly, and then went home and started to look into AIM and their mission. I sought council of sorts from my sister, who has known far longer than I have that she had a heart for missions, and we went for a long, meandering walk through the quiet of the prairie path near our house, and talked for hours about Africa and God’s urgings for us to step outside of our comfort zones and find experiences that we never could have dreamed about. And the longer we talked, the deeper that little seed’s roots delved into my heart. After more prayer and soul-searching, I felt that I could say with relative confidence that Africa was the reason for my discontent.

I spent several weeks on my application, allowing myself time to reflect and digest the possibilities of all the places I might end up, and as I looked through some of the TIMO teams that AIM is hoping to send out within the next year, I felt incredibly drawn to the ministry to the Sakalava people of Madagascar. Maybe I won’t end up there; maybe God has plans for me to end up working with another ministry. But all I know is that Africa has taken root in my heart, and when I consider that by this time next year I might be six months into a two-year stay with a host group, my soul feels so light.

I’m so excited to see where the Lord is leading me, and I sincerely hope that soon I will be posting here to tell all of you that Africa is there, clear as day, on the horizon a few months away.

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