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Monthly Archives: August 2011

Lesson #3–The Finale

As I am finished packing, mulling about my entire time here, as well as what I have to look forward to when I get back, I am left wondering what the biggest lesson I learned in SA was…

I don’t know if one was any more important than any other but here is a conversation I had today that rebrought to my attention something.

Person A-“What are you doing when you get home?”

Beth-“Not sure yet. I’m still looking for jobs. I have an interview with ……… and I’m looking into teaching in Japan.”

Person B [let me also say that I don’t know person B. They work in the office but I’ve never met him, nor do I know of his name.]-“Have you ever considered teaching little kids? That’s just what came to my mind.”

Something that came up in life a few times here was the idea of passion. What are you passionate about? How will God utilize this passion to strengthen His kingdom?

Here are the things I learned about passion:

1- It’s ok to not know what it is yet. In fact, it’s a great thing to pray for God to reveal.

Application: This applies to me in the way that I really don’t know what I want to do yet. I have a few interests and the only overarching “passiony” thing is that I want to help people more directly than the way I have before. But I keep praying that God will show me my passion. And He will.

2- It doesn’t always have to be the same as the last passion.

Application: Broadcasting was my passion a year ago. Less than a year ago. And it’s still something I enjoy very much. But it may not be the passion that God wants me to keep forever. Life goes in seasons and my getting this internship because I loved broadcasting may have just been one step toward something completely different, and I may not have had the experience God wanted for me otherwise. So, I can change what I want to do with my life regardless of my major or my declared love of a job or whatever and I can do it guilt-free (I only feel a little guilty about disliking radio).

3- Every person’s passion is unique.

Application: Go read about the body of Christ in 1 Corinthians.

4- Seeing someone else’s passion, even if it’s different than my own, is inspiring in itself.

Application: Have you ever been re-energized when you see someone doing something they love? What about a Christian who is whole-heartedly serving God?Makes you want to go put lots of energy into your own thing, hey?

5- No passion is too crazy to become a reality.

Application: They always tell us when we’re kids that we can be anything when we grow up. We sorta can! (Unless you wanted to be a puppy like Ashley Hable :P ) If it’s asked of God, and ordained and blessed and His will, it’s gonna happen one way or another.

If you want your passion to become a reality, then just ask. Need some inspiration, just ask. If you want your passion revealed, just ask. [Caution: Make sure you are asking the right source. :) ]

That man from work who doesn’t know me, and I don’t know him… well, he knows me pretty well, actually. I really do want to work with kids.

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Lessons Learned #2

Lesson #2 God’s Purposes vs. My Expectations

Coming to SA, I had very specific expectations. Not about what Africa would be or how people would act but what I was going to learn here and how God was going to use me. Yes, I thought I knew God’s plans more than He did. Little did I know…

I thought I was going to win people to Christ by confidently speaking on air about Jesus! However, I could barely say anything intelligent on air and was the exact opposite of confident.

I thought I would become best friends with people in SA, and I thought that I’d be content if all the interns and I fairly got along. The interns became some of my best friends ever and I didn’t forge the BFF-y friendships with the people I thought I would. (For many reasons, but not because they aren’t great people!)

I thought I would be more independent in SA and not want my mommy and daddy and sister so much. I wanted to hug them all a few times, though.

I thought I was going to love working in radio—I started to enjoy it eventually last semester. It took me almost the full length of the internship to realize I did NOT like presenting on the radio, and don’t really enjoy working with audio alone either, though I do understand its significance to sharing the gospel in Africa.

I thought I would come here and get to ignore the fact that I’m jobless for these three months. Instead, I’ve been searching and praying that I find something soon and learning that God will provide when I need it.

I thought my purpose in being here was for me to get broadcasting experience (because it’s supposed to be my second love) and to maybe be a little helpful to a few people when I’m needed in the process.

 

Here are some things that God showed me that had nothing to do DIRECTLY with me doing this specific internship, they were just cool things that God did. He didn’t need me for these, but He let me sorta kinda be a part of the equation:

I found out that the children at a church at home have been updated about this SA trip. This is exciting to me because now I get to to go home and talk to kids about missions and how God uses ALL of us for His work!

The first time I felt truly valuable at work was in the middle of a conversation with a coworker. We were talking about one of his friends and I just told him what I thought about a situation and what I thought God would want in it, as well. It wasn’t the answer he expected and we both agreed that our conversation was important. Forget broadcasting, I just want to talk with people! (JK)

One of the coolest and most encouraging things during this entire trip was a facebook wall post from my sister telling me how proud she was of me… I know I am a role model to her, for good or bad, and I was excited to see that in this case it was good.

God let me go to Mozambique on a mission trip to hand out those radios and be the TWR spokesperson. I had no idea TWR was connected to a mission trip before coming down here. And God knew He would take me there looooong ago.

The other interns and I have spent much of our time trying to understand why God wanted us here. We all had our struggles with our internships. And if nothing else, I always tell them that they were brought to SA to become my friends. I say it only slightly sarcastically, as they all became people I cared very much about. So even if God didn’t bring THEM here to be MY friend he brought ME here so I could befriend THEM. I have learned a lot from these girls.

I most assuredly do not understand my purpose in being in SA doing this internship at this time. But God does. I was surprised when I heard that there were cool things happening because I was here, and that they were completely unconnected from me and SA. They were clearly just God. I think I was honestly pretty useless as a broadcaster for TWR, which is where I expected God would use me to shine for Him. By disregarding my expectations, God taught me to not have expectations on Him in the first place, because I really cannot imagine the awesome things He can do.

He’ll just surprise me anyway.

Lessons Learned #1

I’m totally copying another intern’s blog—well, not totally. I’m just copying the concept. She took the last five days of her time in South Africa and a lesson learned in SA became the subject of a blog post. Firstly, I’m only doing 3 lessons because I was too lazy the last two days. Secondly, I don’t think that what I say is necessarily super special or super deep, but it’s nice if something can be learned from another’s experiences. I think it’s a privilege to be taught new things about God, and the best things I’ve learned have been some of the hardest. So it is my privilege that God would choose me to struggle. Here are my top threesies. And, go…

Lesson #1: Fear

Though I have learned many things here, I’m starting with fear because it was the first huge one I learned.

“no weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and this is their vindication from me,” declares the Lord.” Isaiah 54:17

That’s a verse that a friend gave to me when I told him how much I was struggling with fear. I wasn’t just a little concerned… I was terrified, can’t sleep, jumping at every sound, crying secretively, planning a zombie apocalypse evacuation strategy kind of scared. It wasn’t just stories of muggings and crime, but it was seeing walls topped with barbed wire and electric fences and hearing that the police may or may not be corrupt and that NO ONE can be trusted and that when I drive I must hide my purse and the whole 50 step process for pulling into the driveway and getting into my home and to be super-duper careful at the ATM..and the list goes on and on. Why so many rules if crime isn’t that big of a deal? Crime IS an issue, yes, but, honestly, it’s still unlikely that if I’m taking the right precautions anything would happen to me. And if something did happen to me, then it just does and I go on with life from there. God will keep me safe physically if it’s His will to do that. And He always keeps me safe spiritually…nothing could ever harm me in a way that I am separated from His grace. This is because I know Jesus Christ.

“I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.” Psalm 4:8

This is a verse that I found one night when I was completely broken and exhausted from the worry of the imminent danger I thought my life was in. I was crying and desperate and angry and just not in a great mindset at all. So, I decided it was time that I found every verse that I could in the Bible about fear. I kind of had that snippet in my mind about Jesus casting out fear but I wanted to read everything I could about it in the hopes that I would find encouragement and, hopefully, some lion-hearted courage in it. I kept having to pray the verses I found over and over, and I asked others to pray for me in an emergency sort of way, as well. This is generally out of my character to ask people to pray for me for such a random thing, but I was such a mess that the only thing that I thought could allow me to continue my time in SA was to give it to God. And He truly did cast out all of my fears.

I treasure both of those verses because the first promises safety and the second promises a peace of mind that allows me to go to sleep feeling secure in His will rather than crying in fear. I was the real life example of both of those.

As a result of this scary lesson I was allowed to learn, I will never fear. I won’t be afraid of men, though I will be cautious. I won’t be afraid of being physically harmed, because I am always protected spiritually. I won’t be afraid of the unknown because it’s not unknown to God, and I trust Him. I’m still learning to not be afraid of the future either, though it is still a mystery to me.

Burundi Reflections

The “Burundi Trip” as I call it went well in ways I didn’t expect beforehand and extremely poorly in ways I didn’t expect either…

I learned that I am not a journalist, not a radio person, not in love with being the obnoxious interviewer. While I was doing interviews (which were important in their own way) I kept thinking how much I wanted to be a part of the ministries that were happening throughout the week. I understand that the documentation of those experiences are important, but I wanted to be actually helping people so much more than that.

So, I am absolutely, unwaveringly certain that I am not in love with radio. (In fact, I ended up being a traitor and running a switcher for the big screens on the sides of the stage during the festival and it was the most fun I had doing media things. No offense to that other stuff.) This doesn’t mean my internship was a waste by any means… I will write about this more another time, though.

This was also a rougher trip that I wanted because I was completely unprepared to be a social butterfly. I am an introvert at heart and sometimes I just need to be alone. It’s not that other people are particularly irritating. I just need to be alone to collect myself, gather thoughts, regenerate, etc, and then I’m ready to go in the world of other humans. I should mention that I’ve barely been alone this entire time. Once I was driving in the car alone to the other intern house 5 minutes away and it struck me that it was the first time I had been alone since I’ve been here, basically. In Burundi, I met lots of people but did a horrible job of working to get to know them. It’s actually too bad, because there were some really great people that I could have gotten to know, but I just could not get myself pumped up enough to do that. This on top of completely sucking at the radio thing just really killed my attitude, though I tried to force some sunshine exuding from myself most of the time. I learned lots from both of these “bad experiences” which perhaps makes them not so “bad” as much as just “experiences.” I think God still needed me there for a reason and I’ll still testify to His provision in this situation.

Those were the personal growth areas for that time… The festival was awesome, though; many people came to know Jesus there, and I’m very thankful I was there.

Email Update—one week left

The festival seemed to go really well. I think I heard that there were 35,000 people who came the second night of the festival. The different outreaches seemed to be affective, as well. The Palau Association visited the prisons, a school for the deaf, held a women’s lunch, and a dinner for the local business owners, as well as other things that I’m not remembering right now. Unfortunately I wasn’t a part of these ministries, but only learned about them and helped to report about them for the radio. I was actually very sad I wasn’t a part of these other things, but I tried to do my job and do it the best I could, though I struggled very much with it.

At the festival itself, which took place on Saturday and Sunday, after Andrew gave the message, there was a time for counseling so that people could talk with Christians about accepting Christ. It wasn’t just a thing where people said a prayer and didn’t have an opportunity to further understand what that meant. The Palau Association also does an awesome job of following up on these new Christians by training Christian leaders to be there for them even after the association is gone. It’s very cool!

Burundi itself was an AWESOME country. They had a genocide as recently as 93, something that many people who are alive could still remember. However, I felt more love and passion for Jesus and for people than in any other place I’ve been. I later found out that the president of Burundi is a Christian and he and his wife spend 2 or 3 days together, away from others, just praying for their leadership for the next week. That just blew me away… Once a week, they also have a community clean up time where no one can drive without a permit because people are cleaning the streets. Though Burundi is still a “poor” country in terms of money, they are rich because so many have faith in Jesus. I am thankful that I could be there to see that wealth is not a statistic based in monetary value or in belongings, but in the spirit and in how one cares for others.

I go home in exactly one week! I’m excited to see familiar faces again, though I won’t forget what I’ve seen and done and experienced nor the new friends I have.

Thanks for your prayers throughout all of this! It’s been a rocky road.

Email Update-8.3.2011

Hello, everyone!

I’m headed to Burundi this afternoon and the last few weeks have been full of preparation for the events. I’ve researched everything I can about the needs of the country and what the Love Festival will potentially be touching and am excited to be there for myself! I will be flying alone which could be a little scary, but I have been prayed for and the Lord will keep me safe if it’s His will.

The festival will be broadcast this weekend and leading up to that I will be conducting interviews, hopefully participating in the ministries when I can, editing journalistic pieces to keep people interested when things get quiet on stage and before it all begins, and doing whatever else should be done. I plan on learning alot about broadcasting and ministering and am excited to see what else God is going to show me.

Pray that the broadcast will be clear and functioning correctly, that the people of Burundi will come to the festival and many will come to know Jesus, that God will inspire the broadcast teams creativity and attitudes to do all our work for His glory, for the performers and speakers and ministry leaders, for safety and peace of mind for everyone, and praise that God has already done so much to get something like this to even happen in Burundi. God is doing awesome things and He doesn’t need me to carry it out, but He has chose me to do this work so pray I allow Him to work through me so He shines brightest.

Thanks, everyone! Will update when I get back!

Beth