Sunday, March 10, 2013

Light at the End of the Tunnel

In 2010, I boarded the long flight to Africa with naive expectations & an unending supply of granola bars. There in Gulu, the Lord began to stir up and unravel new parts of my heart and I fell completely head over heels in love with the people of Uganda. I can so vividly remember the children's laughter, the prisoners' singing, sweet baby Leah

Every community we visited was in desperate need for medical care yet I lacked the skills to help. I returned home to the States with a deep sense of responsibility to serve medically and began the application process for Physician Assistant school in Nashville. The last 3 years have been a blur but I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel.
As part of this crazy journey, I’ll be heading back to Africa in 2 months, May 10 - June 19, 2013, to work at the Zimba Mission Hospital in southern Zambia. There are only 649 physicians in Zambia (1 for every 20,000 people). The need for medical care is staggering.

The 100 bed hospital in Zimba has 6 inpatient wards (adult male & female, pediatrics, maternity, male & female TB), a surgery department, and a large outpatient department. The maternity ward averages 50 deliveries per month, the outpatient department sees an average of 150 patients per day, & I am beyond excited!

And full of fears. Fear of the unknown, fear of my inabilities, and mostly fear for my health. Last year's lupus diagnosis definitely threw a curve ball in my plans & while I love to pretend I'm invincible, the humbling reality is I am much more vulnerable than most. Treatment includes a daily cocktail of immunosuppressant medications that work to slow my immune system from attacking my own cells. But these meds also keep my immune system from fighting off infection and sickness, which is obviously not ideal for working in a third world country. 

Needless to say, I greatly covet your prayers. I know there is immeasurable power in prayer and would love to know that my friends and family are interceding for me while I am serving. Please pray specifically for health and physical strength, a covering of peace and protection, & an abundance of love to pour out on the people we care for. I am certain the Lord has called me to go and trust He is a faithful, protective Father. He is good all the time.

I have already been so humbled by the encouragement and generosity of my friends and family and look forward to sharing the experience with all of you. I cannot wait to be back in Africa and will be blogging updates as much as possible. I sincerely value your prayers and your support. What a privilege to serve such a mighty God!

"Christ has no body on earth but yours, no hands but yours, no feet but yours. Yours are the eyes through which Christ's compassion for the world is to look out; yours are the feet with which He is to go about doing good; and yours are the hands with which He is to bless us now." - Saint Teresa of Avila

Friday, March 1, 2013

Get Up and Go

Last night, one of my dearest friends invited me over to cook dinner for me. Just because. Typically I avoid third wheel opportunities but she and her husband are the closest thing to family here and I love to fill the extra seat at their table. As we stood in her kitchen, tossing kale and chopping chicken, she shared how the Lord has been stirring things up in her heart. Big things, powerful things, challenging things. She and her husband are standing at one of life's big crossroads, one that could result in a major move. But she is not fearful, she is not doubting, she knows where she stands, who she belongs to... a God who has hemmed her in, a faithful Father who does not abandon or forsake. Her foundation is unshakeable.

My sweet friend's heart was bursting with excitement at the opportunity to live a bigger story. One far beyond any dream she could dream for herself. A sovereign God who is limitless. No matter where she and her husband land, the Lord has gone before them and leveled the mountains, broken down gates of bronze, cut through bars of iron. (Is 45:2) Their steps are sure.

These types of conversations are not rare moments, they happen all the time. Women sharing stories of God's kindness, His faithfulness, His generosity, His graciousness. Women who encourage me, push me, inspire me. I'm surrounded and I absolutely love it. And even though my selfish heart breaks at the possibility of my best friends moving away, I'm so grateful to witness friends who are willing to get up and go when God calls. That's what life is all about. We are not called to sit on our hands. We are called to action. We are called to be fearless followers.

I love this message by Christine Caine at World Mandate about living fearlessly. "The purpose of life is not to arrive at death safely." Take a listen. Risky Living.