Africa: Week One

What if I told you that I got to pet a real live cheetah? Would you believe me? Well, what if I told you that there is a bird called a hadida that is the craziest alarm clock at 6 in the morning? Would you believe me? Now, would you believe me that Africa doesn't need material items, but a love that only God can provide? Would you believe me that I am not here to build or improve Africa, but to be an open door for God to show Himself to these people?

That has been the sum of my week since arriving in Africa on Saturday night after flying for 15 hours.

So as you can see, this week has been out of this world. Monday was we went to Olieven for the first time. It was the most eye opening experience ever. The material poverty is unlike anything I have ever seen in person. I was at a lose of words all day and couldn't stop thinking about the precious little girl I met named Kelly. She wanted to show me everything in the span of the ten minutes we were there. We also visited the disability center in which we will also be working with. We got to meet Dianah and all of her joyful staff. I am so excited to work with these people and get to know them. I am excited to build friendships. We start serving on Monday and I can't wait.

That was just Monday. Crazy I know. Tuesday brought its own set of adventures. Hein and Helene (our leaders and mentors and overall most amazing people I have ever met) tricked us, and instead of taking us to town, they took us to a SAFARI PLACE where we saw one of the BIGGEST MINING CAVES IN AFRICA. While there, we saw lions, giraffes, bulls, rhinos, Pumba and Timon all within arms reach. Oh, and we got to pet a cheetah and some lions cubs. No big deal... LIKE WHAT? Yes, so that was my Tuesday.

For the past two days we have been going through worldview training. It has opened my eyes more than I could have ever imagined. We learned all about the culture of Africa and that there are people who have an animistic (spirit-filled) point of view. This was extremely eye opening to me because I have grown up in a culture that has a secular (materialistic) point of view. We learned about these point of views in order to understand cultural differences so that we don't go into Olieven with any sort of agenda or mindset that says "Africa needs me to fix their materialistic poverty". We learned that it is better to stand at the gates of the city with love and to be invited in; instead of coming in and trying to "fix" their so called problems. I never even knew that there were different worldviews. I always assumed everyone thinks like we do in America. I am so thankful that I have seen and learned that that is not the case. I am so thankful to have learned about these differences, so that I can be an open door for God. From here on out, my only intention is to love, serve, and allow God to work in all of His glorious ways.

I am ready to see what God has in store for this trip because this is only week one and I have learned so much! I am so excited to go into Olieven and serve but I am living life one day at a time. Because here in Africa, we don't have watches, but we have time.