I have just walked away from an evening where I unexpectedly watched some of the series Half The Sky by Nicolas Kristof. Have you heard of him or the book Half The Sky? If you haven’t, research it right now and if you have, are you changed because of it?
Documentaries like this break me. I see the familiar streets of African and Asian countries that I have been to and I smile when I hear the familiar accents and words translated and my heart breaks again for these people, particularly women, who live in poverty and under oppression. My eyes swell with tears, my throat closes and my heart screams, “This is what you were made for!” To envision change for these countries and to work towards it until we see improvement, is what my heart cries. I don’t know exactly what that looks like for the rest of my life or even in the next few years but I know that I cannot ignore that call.
Perhaps because the New Year has turned and I am a whole year older than last year already, I have been thinking over my life so far and how different it looks from what I thought it would when I was much younger. Somehow the dreams that I had when I was young about becoming a nurse, getting married and having a family in my 20’s have never come to be and instead I’ve been living on a ship in Africa now for more than four and a half years and my future now looks more obscure than what I ever dreamed.
The thing is though, Africa has stolen my heart. I can’t really describe how much I love this continent. I have learnt more living in this place and learning the cultures of each new country than any other time in my life. I understand the bible 1,000 times more than I ever did because of what I’ve seen and experienced here.
When I walked away from the documentary tonight I wanted to bawl my eyes out. It provokes so much emotion on so many levels, anger against human traffickers and rapists, grief over the girls who have been beaten and abused, deep sadness for the families living in poverty, struggling to make ends meets and keep their children in school and a overwhelming sense of how blessed I am. I am able to be here with Mercy Ships because of supporters like you. As easy as life on board is, it certainly has its challenges, but more than ever I know that God has called me to give away my life in the Western world and I think some of my tears are reserved for mourning the loss of what I thought my life would look like and surrendering it back to God in pursuit of His plans for me. There is no greater satisfaction than knowing you are in the centre of God’s will for your life and that’s where I want to be.
“I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.” Isaiah 42:16