Leaving Tuesday evening, some of us were filled with anticipation for what lay in wait for us in a place more than half of us had never been. We rode this plane all the way to Africa.
After our late arrival on Wednesday evening, we ate and crashed. We were up the next day for an orientation to Botswana's history and tribal background, a trip to the feeding station (ended up unable to go due to vandalism in the feeding station's kitchen), a driving tour of Botswana, a trip to the open market, back to the hotel to freshen up, back to the church to eat and do some last minute planning and praying for the Freedom for Families conference.
Our main objective for the mission trip to Africa was to help lead discussions at our tables during the Freedom for the Families conference. Open Baptist Church hosted the conference, and our church sent the nine of us to help facilitate.
This shot is just prior to boarding a 777 for the 15-hour flight! Note: I'm the dork in glasses with my passport and various other important credentials HANGING AROUND MY NECK
David and Denise Glenn led the conference and together with OBC members, we led each table in short activities like writing love letters to each other and creating a mission statement for our marriages. What followed these activities was delightful discussion and a glimpse into just how BIG God is.
You see, when I went to Botswana, I wasn't prepared for the diversity. I was confounded when I got to meet people from nations all over Africa, not just Botswana. OBC boasts 38 different nationalities in their membership, and with their close proximity to the university, a large percentage of their membership holds graduate degrees and professorships at The University of Botswana. They are a diverse and educated bunch! God is BIG.
Flags of all the nations represented at OBC
At our table alone, we hosted folks from South Africa, Botswana, Senegal and India. And while we were there, we met other people from Zambia, Zimbabwe, Kenya and even Ireland. Most amazingly, we met a girl from Tifton, GA who married a man from Botswana! They were (I say were because she has probably had her baby by now) pregnant with their second child. God is BIG.
Our new friends who actually sent their daughter off to university in the US while we were there
Me chatting with Joan at our table
The Daddy with Thabo, a single university student who was seeking God in looking for his future wife!
Mavis and me with her sweet daughter at church on Sunday
We were prepared for cultural differences, but God took care of all of our worries. We were afraid the men wouldn't open up, but they did! They all but dominated the conversation. It took no poking around to get them to talk about love, expressing love and barriers in their marriages. God is BIG.
I loved having The Daddy there at the conference with me. I've done a bible study or two by Denise Glenn and I was excited to have him experience her amazing story-telling and biblical insight. The way God talks to her and her ability to listen and obey Him just blows me away! While we enjoyed and learned a lot from the conference, I think one of our most important lessons came the day before it even started.
Our team with David and Denise Glenn (oh and Donna's there, too!)
Unlike other women, I tend to get concerned with my appearance and I can really let it get me down. I brought a pair of pants on the trip, but I was, ahem, let's just say it, BLOATED and couldn't fit in them comfortably. Frustrating, to say the least and it got me down. Sensing my mood and knowing the downward spiral I was heading in, The Daddy gave it to me. He let me know that it just wasn't going to fly in Africa. That amazing gift from our BIG God would go to waste if I let PANTS NOT FITTING bring me down and miss out on the opportunities He had planned for us.
So even though my butt was feeling big, God was even BIGGER.
In order to get over myself, I had to let The Daddy pray for me. And it worked. And then I was able to focus on what was really happening at the conference. Hearts were prepared and worked on that weekend. God is BIG.
More to come:
Submission and letting him lead.
Hint: Requires prayer.