One year ago today, I held these tickets in my hand as I waited to board the flights that would take me to my new home. These tickets were for one direction only. As we say here in Africa, there would be no “going and coming”. There would be only going…and staying.
One year ago today, I left all that I knew behind. A way of life that was easy by comparison. Family who loved me despite my flaws. Friends who would share life with me over Tex-Mex and cups of coffee. Nieces and nephews who would grow up while I was a world away.
One year ago today, I left a world in which I was fully competent. I could drive with ease and it was relaxing. Look at a menu and know exactly what I would order and what I would receive. Speak and be completely understood. Worship in my own language.
One year ago today, I entered the unknown and a way of life that is far more difficult. But I have been blessed by a family here who encourages me on a daily basis. Friends who I can share life with over rice and sauce and cups of bissap. Little nieces and nephews who sit in my lap to drive my truck and entertain me during language lessons.
One year ago today, I was thrown into a context were I was completely incompetent. But now I can drive like an African (watch out!), order food and get basically what I ordered, and be semi-understood in conversations around town. And I am learning how to worship in the heart language of the people I’ve been called to serve.
Three hundred and sixty-five days later, I’m amazed at the difference a year makes. I’m amazed at all I’ve learned. I’m amazed at the friends He’s blessed me with. I’m humbled as I continue learning to live life in this context and speak a language that is not my own. And I’m grateful to call this crazy place home. The Lord provides in incredible ways.
This next year promises to be chock-full of changes, new responsibilities, and more opportunities to share Jesus with those who’ve never heard. And I step into this second year anticipating the Lord to do great things.