Sunday, March 07, 2010

God, don't send me to Africa

1970s. High School. Passionate, angst-filled teenager trying to figure out what her purpose is in life. I spent a lot of time praying about that purpose and the single thing that I prayed out loud was, "God, don't send me to Africa as a missionary."

Over and over I prayed that prayer, because in those days, that's what Christians did if they wanted to change the world. They went to Africa. I didn't want to, and I was absolutely certain that if God got His hands on me, He might think it was a really good idea for me to go to Africa. I did not want that. If you think I'm kidding about praying that prayer over and over, I'm not. You can't imagine how many times I begged and pleaded.

Flash forward. 1984. I'd just started the process of opening a quick printing business with my mom and sister. One of my best friends in college spent a year in Cairo teaching in a Christian school. It was an amazing experience for her. She called me when she was back in the states and as we talked, I realized that this could be wonderful for me as well. I started the process to apply for a position, having completely forgotten my prayers begging God to never send me to Africa.

Doors closed, windows slammed shut. I ended up not going to Africa. It took awhile for me to remember my prayers. But, when I did, I realized that not only was God honoring those, He was reminding me that prayers have power. I'm fairly certain that I heard Him chuckling about the whole thing, too.

I've never tried to go to Africa since that point. I'm not crazy.

Two of my friends are heading to South Africa this month to work with Music For Life, the parent organization of African Children's Choir. They have a lot of money to raise. I'll do whatever I can to get them there. I spent the evening at a fundraiser for them and had a fabulous time. Any chance I get to hear great music (The 9's and Korey Anderson band), I'll take it.

These two girls want to go - more than they want to do anything else. It's a deep-seated passion for them. They have fears about traveling that far from home and doing things that are alien to their daily lives. Unlike me, they chose to ask God what it was He wanted them to do, rather than telling Him what they didn't want to do.

Don't you like the way He honored both requests? I do.

I just hope that at some point when I try to travel to Egypt or Kenya or Uganda or anywhere else in Africa, I can find a way to make it happen without doors and windows slamming shut on me. Because someday I'm going to want to get there. Maybe if I don't go as a missionary, it will be ok.

And by the way, if you have a heart for African Children's Choir and want to support some amazing young women as they go to teach music and dance, let me know ... I'll hook you up.

1 comment:

Rebecca said...

tooo funny....it is amazing how many times you look back and realize the prayers he answered even when you were naive and clueless as to the big picture...I'm glad he kept you stateside I could imagine you lost forever in those jungles writing away in your hut and then we would never get to meet ever... by the way you realize we have known each other almost four years and never set foot on the same soil... girlfriend that has got to change soon! xoxoxoxox