nine years

Nine years ago, this past Saturday, I arrived in South Africa. Hopeful. Excited. Passionate. If I am to be honest, also a little scared. Intimidated. Unsure.

I knew I was called to Africa, but that was possibly all that I knew. I didn't know what I should be doing. Or what my specific "calling" was. Or what it would all look like. I just followed. "Here I am, Lord. Send me."

Niel and I have been reminiscing back to our "early days" a lot lately. Things have changed so much in the past nine years. I have changed so much. I still feel like I don't know what I'm doing and I still wonder what it all will look like. And while I don't fully grasp my "calling" -- that which I was born to do -- I know I am walking in it.

In many ways, I feel light-years beyond that young girl who stepped off the plane nine years ago. Yet in many ways, I am still the same. If I'm honest, I'm still a little scared. Intimidated. Unsure. Scared of messing up, of missing the mark, of not being or doing all I'm supposed to. Intimidated by responsibility, by the demands of a growing staff, by the unfinished task. Unsure of myself, of how to do all I must, of what the future will hold.

But I'm also still hopeful. Excited. Passionate. Hopeful that the mark I leave in Africa will change it for the better, that the lives we touch will transform this nation, that our work will truly turn the tide of the AIDS pandemic. Excited by all that has been accomplished, by the lives we have seen changed by the Word of God, by what lies ahead. Passionate about the potential in the African people, about seeing the nations come to Christ, about Africa...

Nine years. And yet just the beginning...