December 26, 2012
To begin, my first desire to go to Africa was quite a few years back, when I met a missionary family from Nigeria- the Camiolas. This family and their joy for the Lord has been an example of how I want to live my life. Their Nigerian daughter Nansik has stolen my heart, and the ministry they do in Jos has inspired me. By my freshman year in college, I knew that I wanted to major in special education and that somehow I wanted to incorporate that into missions in Africa. I always thought that Jos, Nigeria would be the first place God would call me to go to in Africa, but that plan has quickly evolved. In the spring semester of my freshman year at Trinity Christian College, I was walking to class and saw a poster advertising a new semester abroad program in...KENYA!
WOW, I could not believe it! I was planning on only being able to student teach in Africa and knew that it would be a struggle to accomplish that. This opportunity was more than I could have ever dreamed of, and I could not let it pass by! When I saw the poster advertising the Kenya semester program, I quickly sent a picture to my dad saying, "I’m going!" He replied, "How much does it cost?" I said, "No more than a normal semester." His response was, "I would have said, priceless." Priceless.
I attended the first meeting describing the program, and I knew that this semester was made for me. I sent in my application and the waiting process began. After what seemed like forever, we received the news that over 20 people had applied to the program and that they were taking no more than 7 from Trinity. Again, I waited. On July 18, I received an email saying that I was accepted! I was shocked and nervous, but mostly excited! I know so many people who want to be in my place, and I am so grateful for this opportunity. From January 24-May 8, I will be studying at Daystar University, Athi-River Campus. Did I mention we will be spending spring break on the island of Zanzibar, Tanzania?
Then, there is the extended process of getting shots, preparing my packing list, researching African culture, and most importantly, picking my classes. That has been a journey in and of itself. Originally, I was planning on getting 2 education courses done while I was in Kenya and then catching up on what I missed in summer school so that I would still be on track to graduate on time. Then we figured out that the classes I needed either would not transfer or were offered in the fall semester instead of the spring one. I was so discouraged and spent many hours worried and wondering if God was giving me a sign to either reconsider my major, or if I should really go to Africa or not. After meeting with my favorite theology professor, I realized that I could pick up a theology minor at Daystar (which would make me feel more confident going into missions), and I would just have to do an extra semester at Trinity. Even though I thought my plans were ruined, God revealed to me an even better plan that would better prepare me for what I want to do. So, what I am planning on is taking 3 theology courses in Kenya, as well as observing at a Kenyan school for field experience hours, and when I get back I will take one summer school course and then finish up my education courses at Trinity. I will be taking one extra semester, but that last semester will be spent student teaching anyway. It may take me a little bit longer and cost a little more, but this experience is priceless to me.
At this point in my life, I feel a clear calling from God to teach in Africa and after researching special education programs in Africa (or the lack of) I believe he has given me the desire to start a special education program somewhere in Africa. This semester in Kenya is the perfect opportunity to see if this "suburban girl" can survive in Africa, and it will give me time to focus on this desire God has given me. I am SO excited for this semester to begin, and I cannot wait to see how God moves in my life. Please be praying for my safety as we are traveling, Psalm 121. Also, that I would find strength I didn't know I have when I need it and peace as I leave my family and friends for the first extended time ever. Thank you to everyone who has already prayed for this journey of mine and for your support. I love you and can't wait to write my first blog post from KENYA!