Re-calculating En Route…

Challenge & Revelation

Sometimes I feel like a GPS as I acclimate to America and my new surroundings. “Re-calculating, re-calculating.” It has been a joy to experience America and all it offers with eyes wide open. Every time I have come back from missions trips I have been preparing to go on the next one. After a year and a half of ministry (including my month back home of preparing for school and fundraising) it is great to rest where no agenda wipes me out.

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The strangest thing to re-adjusting is how I remember places differently than they are now. Two years have passed and the place I once remember has completely changed! I find myself becoming more of an introvert and pulling in to avoid repeating myself by answering everybody’s same questions. Don’t misunderstand me, I love meeting people and swapping stories of the lives we’ve lived, ministry moments, and missions. The phrase I hear all too often is, “That is so great. I wish I could do that.” I want to shake them by the shoulders and say, “You can!!!” If an 18 year old can go for a few weeks (or years), please consider taking a week and go evangelize! You don’t even have to leave the country!

The first week of being back in America was difficult as I fought relaxation and yearned to go and minister to others. God showed me how much I needed to be ministered to and rest in His presence. A few days later I was able to pray for a young girl I met (some of you may have seen my Facebook post.) It was so fulfilling and I was extremely thankful that I had set aside that time for the Lord to re-coop. What an exciting journey ahead of listening to His voice and discovering new things along the way! My heart for missions will never dull and the cry of my heart for more Christians to fulfill the great commission will never be reticent. I am really excited to go to ORU and meet more young adults my age who are crazy about missions and inspire others about God’s work, too!

Thanks for reading,

Ashley

Can’t Say Goodbye

Challenge & Revelation, Photography

Wow. The past year and a half has been quite a whirlwind! Thank you to you all who try and keep up with the small notes I have time to put up (as you can see, it’s been a while!) I’ve missed blogging about the events and people that I meet here in Africa but God has been teaching me a lot this season about living  in  the  moment.

Some of you may know but I’ll summarize for those of you just jumping into this quirky girl’s life of adventure. I have been with Impact Africa for a year and a half as an intern. My job is a bit of a catch-all but in my time spent in South Africa I have not only made friendships that will last a lifetime as well as organized trips for the orphan-vulnerable children we have at our schools in several communities and planned weekly crafts, stories, and picked up the large amount of food that feeds all (close to) 200 children! I’ve learned much about blog writing as I wrote blogs for the organization as well as leadership through leading mission teams and coming back to “guide” this year’s interns. (I say guide in parentheses because there were definitely times they were guiding me!) I’ve helped teach an English class we set up for people in the community to help provide better job options and battled through wanting them to desperately know English as well as questioning if teaching was in my future. I’ve grown in compassion as I watched people try to hold their lives together without Jesus and then turn to Him and begin the journey of learning to trust how great He truly is. I’ve also struggled with the thought of never leaving and keeping these people under my wing forever, but I know that’s not God’s plan.

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Today I am returning to the States to prepare and begin college at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Part of me can barely contain the excitement, the other can barely hold in the tears. As I alluded to before, this season has been a bit of a tricky one. I feel that every time a season ends God’s grace seems to pull back a teensy bit so you can see what living life outside of His will is like (just in case you decide to change your mind and do something else.) Even in the moments I wanted to run away from the situation at hand, God always provided strength. While I was humbled, He was exalted and that is what I live my life for: His glory.

Some people say when God shuts a door He opens a window, but I believe God gives us the choice at times. Both will work just fine, but one is closer to His heart. These past six months have been difficult, but God refined me in so many ways. He gave me the choice to come back or to go back to comfortable Ol’ America and I didn’t come back because it was easy. I came back because I knew this is what God has planned for the rest of my life: missions. In whatever aspect that may take. Thanks for journeying with me during my time in South Africa. So this is not good-bye. Missions is an overflow of the heart and that’s how I live my life now. And for South Africa? It’s just a, “See you later :)” Can’t wait to see the new adventures that await us!