It’s been almost a year since I boarded the airplane with 10 other team members and headed to Welkom, South Africa to serve at Restoring Hope Village.
This trip encouraged me to love. Tested patience. Acquired community. And inspired growth.
It comes in all shapes and sizes and means something different for everyone.
For the 28 kids at Restoring Hope Village who my team and I got to know throughout our trip along with the 2 amazing missionary families who pour their heart into these kids daily, this reigned true.
Pastor Geoff hammered this phrase into my head.
“What does love require of you?”
I have always been a lover so to speak. I believe it’s my spiritual gift. I invest in the people I care about and I get it honestly from my Grandma Esther.
I knew God was calling me on this trip for that reason. I knew that I could love for 17 days straight, without a doubt. And I was excited for Him to teach me things along the way.
S/O God. I LOVE life lessons.
PATIENCE MY CHILD.
I was challenged to expand my capacity to love behind those moments where my patience was challenged. Love through letting kids play with the long curly blonde locks that I was blessed to call “the mane.”
I hated people touching it let alone a 4 year old fumbling a rubber band throughout it.
But I learned patience, because they just wanted to pour God’s love into me as much as I wanted to pour into them. So worth the patience to see the smile on their face that communicated pure joy and accomplishment. “Look! So pretty!”
And with all trips with a large group of people, there is always conflict,but we overcame all obstacles through Christ and continued to defeat Satan’s stabs.
We felt exhaustion hit after spending days straight traveling and lack of sleep. Through it all, there was a blanket of joy and refreshment on the playground with those kids. We would sit in the team house complaining about being tired and the second we starting walking toward the kids, we felt a rush of energy, something only God could provide.
We recharged through giggles on the swing as they screamed for an underdog for the thousandth time. We recharged while holding them on our lap as we watched friends teach and learn hand clap games. No matter what, we found the energy to push through because that’s how love works.
Not only did we love, but we felt it right back.
Without knowing it, these kids showed us love in everything they did. I never knew jumping on a trampoline or allowing them to help paint a strip of plywood could mean so much.
10 people. One plane. One large bus. One small truck with bench seats and a topper.
Those 10 people made me realize the importance of having a community of believers to go through life with. We talked life. A lot. Meeting with those people around a journal and a Bible soon became my favorite thing to do. Exhausted or joyful, we saw it all within each other. Which in my opinion is the best part. I truly believe we were hand picked by God to be in those moments together.
Last, but surely not least.
At this time last year, I was a recent college grad with a degree and absolutely no REAL clue as to what I wanted to do. So naturally, God used my trip to teach me about about myself. I learned through tragedy, heartbreak, joy and love all at the same time. I was challenged both physically and mentally on every level and was able to let go of things I didn’t even know I was holding onto. I am pretty sure I could go on and on about how much I grew as a human on this trip, but there was one thing I knew for sure. If I didn’t make these trips a part of my life forever, I would not be fulfilled.
So, here I am a year later, packing my bags to journey again. To see those oh so familiar faces and squeeze those kiddo cheeks. With so much joy and excitement, I’ll see you all now now.
Love & Stuff,