I signed on to work for Small Steps for Compassion officially right before I came here in October. But my heart was in it before that, I was just afraid to acknowledge it. All this last school year I had known I was to come here to Tanzania but I was afraid to leave all that I knew and the exciting, safe job I had. You can ask most anyone who lived near me or talked to me, I was uncertain as to where I was being called, much like our friend Jonah. I looked around for signs that God was leading me to stay and continue working at Camp Wawona, after all city kids needed to see God in the nature and in the mountains, right? I tried to ignore the fact that I had wanted an opportunity to start and work for an orphanage for years (most of my college career), that all my college work and studies had lead me to this job. Instead I was stuck in a bad wash cycle; I just kept spinning and spinning and spinning. I would try and convince God of the other plans and that I could passionately serve God from my safe corner of the world, which I could have. Just not to the full potential that God gave me. If I had stayed I would have slowly decayed in my compromise. I would never reach my full potential that I believe God is working in me currently. All along I had been given the proper encouragement from friends and family leading me to take this job; I had laid out my fleeces and they were wet, then they were dry. I knew by May that when the time came, when the official questions were asked I would say without fear, "Hear I am Lord, send me".
This summer was a hard one. The workload was different than the previous two summers, I had invested more of myself than ever before at a summer camp. It was summer number eleven, I was in it to win it, I was programming director and very excited. I still prayed almost daily that I would be ready when the time came to leave but was never quite sure when that would be. As the summer progressed I thought I was doing good, that things were going well, I was working hard, accomplishing things and I saw results of a team effort paying off. Yet, in my personal world things were bouncy. I had close friends asking me questions that I didn't understand, supervisors pulling me aside to ask questions and share statements that confused me. I thought I was doing a good job, I thought that this was one of my gifts, my talents, working at summer camps with youth, planning out programs. I had always loved it and reveled in the work. Now I wasn't so sure. I wasn't even sure if this was what I was good at. By the end of the summer camp season I was no longer on the rinse cycle, I was full on the spin cycle and I was hurting from it.
In all that pain, hurt and confusion I found something small that I needed, I found the ability to let go, to leave. It seems to me that it was a terrible way for me to realize where I am supposed to be. But I suppose being trapped in a belly of a whale was no walk in the park either. I have been here at my new home for a little over two weeks and I'm missing things from my old home in the mountains. I am missing the community, camaraderie, and even the workload, then again I also found that I am still processing and learning to forgive and let go.
I am here in Tanzania now. I am fully committed to changing children's lives. I have signed on to work hard at starting a home for children. All my passions from college are back; my mindset and my dreams are being blessed. God is here in this place. It is here in Tanzania, that I now plead for God to bless this home and in it my faith is being strengthened just as the author E. White put it in her book Steps to Christ, "You will plead with God, and your faith will be strengthened, and your soul will drink deeper drafts at the well of salvation. " It is from the lessons of this last summer that I realized the last part of the quote is true, "Encountering opposition and trials will drive you to the Bible and prayer. You will grow in grace and the knowledge of Christ, and will develop a rich experience."
So that is where I am now, growing, developing rich experiences, drinking deep of the living water, and taking small steps for compassion, everyday. Before I know it my house will be full of children who need that same love, salvation and grace, and because of my journey to get here I will be able to share it. I have tasted and seen that the Lord is good.