1. What has been the most challenging part of living overseas for a year? What has been the most rewarding part?
Challenge: the greatest challenge has been learning the language. Most people speak English, so there has not been any formal language training, it has just been my responsibility to learn along the way. After living here 6 months, though, I feel like I should know much more than I do.
Reward: The most rewarding part has been seeing how the Lord is the same in all nations! That He has faithful followers in this country who love Him with their whole hearts! It has been incredible and I love being able to talk with brothers and sisters here and although we have vastly different backgrounds and are from opposite hemispheres and sides of the world our foundations in Christ enable us to build deep relationships.
2. What have you learned about yourself and your home culture through this experience?
What I have learned about my home culture can best be summed up in the words of Ghandi: “There is enough for everyone’s need but not enough for everyone’s greed.” The USA as a whole is entirely too materialistic, and I struggled with that while living in the US, but when I moved away and have been in another country, I have seen how true it is that very little is actually needed to live. I have been convicted of my own frivolous spending, and even while living here, I come home each night to food while many of my friends go to bed hungry, both children that I mentor and college students at the university. I have been learning of the Abrahamic covenant, where God told Abraham, “I will bless you and through you all nations will be blessed.” He has blessed me and wants me to use those blessings, whether they be monetary blessings, certain gifts and abilities or knowledge, who am I to squander and consume the blessings He has freely given me?
3. Is there an attribute of God that has been particularly sweet to you during this season of life?
His faithful love. It has been quite a hard truth to comprehend that there is nothing that I can DO or nothing that I CAN’T DO that will make God look on me with any more love or look on me with any less amount of love. Understanding that His love is unconditional has been a hard truth to grasp but it has been refreshing as I fail time and time again, knowing that He continues to remain faithful and sovereign in my life and continues to pour out His love on me, as one so entirely undeserving.
4. What one piece of advice would you give to graduating seniors? How about freshman?
The Lord has blessed us to be a blessing to others. Learn what this means and live it out.
5. What’s your favorite food there? What snack do you miss the most?
My favorite food here is anything traditional. But in short, I’d have to say a “fat cake” which is basically just a ball of fried bread. The snack I miss the most is COFFEE! A white mocha from Starbucks with a shot of hazelnut. Hahahaha. Ok, I know that’s a drink, but I cannot think of any snack food I miss the most….hmm. Maybe Whales? Yeah, lets go with that answer 🙂
6. How is life after college different than you expected?
I never expected to be living in a different country and have the title of “missionary”. In all honesty, I thought that I would have a job, begin working my way on the corporate ladder and find a nice man to settle down and marry, then start a family. While I have kept many of my friends from college, I have been amazed at the close relationships I have formed with the people I have met here in Botswana. But as I have said before, God knows me better than I know my own crazy, random self. As I yielded myself to Him, and took the leap of faith to follow His calling to a random country and culture I knew nothing about and had never been to, He proved Himself faithful as I have fallen in love with this slow-moving people, almost feeling more at home here than I have felt in any other place in my life. It’s like I was separated at birth from Botswana! 🙂
7. What made you decide to spend a year overseas?
Living in another country had always been a dream of mine, but never in a million years did I think this dream would become a reality. But the decision came from lots of time seeking God and trying to discern what His next step for me was after college. The opportunity to come to Botswana literally sprang up out of nowhere and as I tried to reason why I should not go, there was no way that I could say no. I didn’t fully understand at the time why I would be going to Botswana, but it has been neat looking back and seeing His plan unraveling. I knew that if I said “no” to Botswana, I would be saying “no” to a very clear call from my Lord and Savior, and that was not something I wanted to do.
8. Can you share a story of how God is working in your location?
The theme of our student movement, BOTSCRU, this semester is making disciples as we go. The harvest here in Botswana is DEFINITELY plentiful, but the laborers are so very scarce. There is great need for discipleship and God has been revealing that to both staff and students. While through evangelism we see many students give their lives to Christ (something that seems crazy and foreign for those on US campuses) it is through follow-ups and discipleship that lives are changed and individuals excited and in love with Jesus Christ are raised up to be sent out. We had a Valentine’s Day outreach and from that outreach alone there were 500+ contacts to follow up with who showed interest in talking more about their faith and God. The students in our movement all received stacks of contacts to follow up with, so seeing the students take hold of the vision and be proactive in doing these follow ups.
9. How can we be praying for you?
Please pray for me in my discipleship relationships. I have been so overwhelmed recently trying to figure out how to meet and pour into the girls I am “assigned” to be discipling while at the same time be holding follow-ups and doing evangelism, always getting more contacts even while I have others to follow up with. I am feeling stretched very thin and thus am feeling ineffective in ministry here. But on the other side of this is letting time slip away and feeling lazy. I just want to not be lazy in these next few weeks of the semester but rely fully on the strength of the Lord and give all I have to His work here. Also, prayer for time to sit and be still and listen to His guidance concerning next year would also be much appreciated as I have NO clear direction whatsoever. THANKS!