While visiting my favorite Christian camp last week, a young friend of mine asked me if I would be writing anymore about my experience in the African bush. Of course, I never meant to quit writing those posts but ideas came to write other posts and somehow my bush stories got pushed to the back burner, so to speak. Therefore, I will attempt to pick up where I left off and set aside Wednesdays to write these posts.
(To read the last post I wrote about my bush experience and be brought up to date, check November 2013 archives!)
It’s 2-6-13 and the staff (which, hallelujah, included me) were headed back to base camp!
Ahh, to be in a house (not a tukal) with a bathroom (not an outhouse) just a few short steps from my comfortable bed, eating something other than beans and rice, drinking cokes instead of filtered water! Since I had just come in from the bush I saw these as luxuries for the first time in my life!
By returning to home base, I was able to sort through the jumbled thoughts racing around in my head. God used this reprieve to clear and stabilize my thinking. Though I still had a ways to go, I grew less negative and more positive in my thinking.
A phone call to a dear friend back in the USA gave me the chance to talk with someone who would be willing to listen to me and empathize with me about the harsh realities this 64 year old woman had endured. She didn’t gloss over the hard stuff and offered words that energized and encouraged me. Sharing with her some of the thoughts with which God had impressed upon me over the previous days, helped me gain clarity and purpose.
A media team from the mission organization we belonged to, had arrived at home base. Two young women gifted with the ability to write and photograph well blended right in with our missionary band. I admired these women a lot. Here they were bravely traveling all over the world by themselves and all for the sake of the gospel. I had, up until that meeting, always thought to be a photographer/writer for the National Geographic would be an exciting and intriguing job. After meeting these extraordinary women, I have changed my mind. Not about being a photographer/writer but to do this kind of work for the sake of the gospel?
Wrapping this post up with a verse with which I struggled in taking to heart during my time in the bush. The fiery darts were bombarding me and with the harshness of my living conditions, not to mention the challenges I faced physically, the truths of this verse continued to elude me. Nevertheless, I kept my focus on this verse, for I knew my recovery would be found within its truths–especially the part about praying with thanksgiving. I can’t say that I was able to fully thank God for the challenges and struggles of bush camp (while I was there; at least not to the extent I would like to be able to claim). But now that I am home and have had time to ponder those days, I can sincerely state that I thank God for every difficult moment. If there is to be a next time, my first time in the bush will have prepared me well.
6 Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Phillipines 4:6-7 (HCSB)