On my first week with Abante International I experienced more roller coaster emotions than I knew was possible. I was in a completely new place with new people that I had never met before. As an introvert, this was not something I was used to. Repeatedly in scripture, God calls average people out to leave everything that they have known. Such sacrifice requires complete and total dependence upon God. I found myself in a place where the only thing that was familiar to me was Jesus. Everything about my days have changed, but I serve a God that is unchanging. From the start I knew that God was calling me out of my comfort zone and into this awesome experience with Abante, but I guess I never realized just how challenging it was going to be until I was in the midst of it.
I had never been one to get homesick, yet my biggest battle so far has been homesickness. I keep hearing the Lord tell me “Look up child. Look at my face or you’re going to miss everything that I’m trying to show you.” He is reminding me to be present where I am and that He is good, faithful, and never-changing. He is also reminding me that I am in great hands, so I must “be strong and courageous! For the Lord my God is with me wherever I go” Whether it be Covington, Alabama, New Zealand, Australia, or South Korea. He is the same today as He was yesterday and Here as He was at home.
Through the application process, fundraising, and eventually leaving home God has been teaching me about one simple word: Trust. I am learning to trust Him in all aspects of my life. When I decided to join Abante, I was also choosing to leave behind my family, my two nieces, my best friend, my amazing boyfriend, my church family, and so many others that hold a special place in my heart for nine months. I chose to do so because I knew wholeheartedly that the Lord was calling me to this. Not to a grand adventure or to see the world, but to experience Him in a new way so that I may grow into who He intends for me to be. I don’t know what I will run into this year, but I do know that so far He has provided and I believe that He will continue to do so. He has provided funding, safety, peace, friendship, and opportunity. The same people that were strangers to me that first week are becoming more like family every day. The Lord has taken a feeling of doubt and restored in me a deep truth that I am right where I need to be. He is continuing to give me peace that surpasses all understanding despite my homesickness, doubt, and fear.
After months of anticipation and a 30-hour travel time, we finally arrived in New Zealand on Friday, September 7th. Since our arrival I have been in complete awe of the landscape, I have also met so many wonderful people, learned heaps of kiwi slang, and taken care of new born lambs and calves… All in all this life is good and I can’t wait to tell all of you in more detail about my experiences! I love my new temporary home here in Papakaio, New Zealand.