Everything will change. A Ministry of WorldVenture.
Lately I feel like I've had so much going on but when I actually think about it, it's really not that much. In my mind it just feels like it 1) because everything takes extra thinking when you're not in your own culture or speaking English, 2) I've had a lot more to do than last month, and 3) I've just had a lot to think about.
Right now my life consists of going to church on Sunday, then visiting people and finding ways to occupy my time on Monday and Tuesday, working at a school for handicapped kids Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and then going to youth group on Saturdays. And of course spending time with my family every evening which I love because they are all so funny! So that's what my normal week looks like at the moment.
That routine was interrupted however by a trip down to Abidjan, the capital, with the whole Benkadi (Journey Corps) team. Last Thursday, we all headed down there for a week to have a seminar on West African traditional values, pick up Rod and Angelika from the airport, welcome Linda and Eric, and of course go to the beach! It was so great to be together again and hear what's going on in each person's life, and of course to just hang out and be ridiculous. As much as I love being with my family in Korhogo, I had really missed spending time with my Benkadi family!
On Wednesday, half the team and I went back up to Bouaké and I spent a few more days relaxing at the dorm. Then on Saturday, I took a bus by myself back to Korhogo which I was not looking forward to. I was just feeling especially tired that day and wishing I could stay in Bouaké just a little bit longer. I knew I had a five hour ride in a hot, crowded bus ahead of me and wasn't too excited at all. But I had to go. I wanted to wait until Monday, when I could catch a ride with Rod in the car but I had to be in Korhogo by Sunday to be at my baptism course.
Yep, surprise! I'm getting baptized! But because of that I felt obligated to go back, that I wasn't going because I actually wanted to. So I got to the bus station in a terrible mood, I was told the bus would leave in half an hour, but I knew that was highly unlikely (we ended up leaving in 2 hours). So I figured that was as good a time as any to read my Bible. For no particular reason I opened up to John 15 and reading "Abide in me and I in you... Now remain in my love" made me feel so at peace and loved by my God. Some days here just aren't good ones, but I never pass an entire bad day without being reminded of God's love and how he has everything under control.
That chapter just got me to thinking about so many things. Mostly how, despite any stress I have here, God hasn't let me down at all and always knows what's best for me. Then I started thinking about my upcoming baptism, and became so happy! I've been happy from the start but I really, genuinely got so excited about it this time, I couldn't help but have a huge smile on my face even in front of everybody there who were already staring at me because I already stand out a bit. I just thought, "Holy moly, I'm really getting baptized this Easter and I absolutely can't wait!" But I also had one of those "man, my life is weird" moments as I was spending time with God by myself at a bus station in Africa. I never once imagined that moments like that would be a normal part of my life.
So yeah, about my baptism. Yep, I wasn't baptized before I left, not for any good reason. I just didn't see the importance of it. I had already put it off just because it never came up. And then when it did, I figured it wasn't that big a deal and whenever I had the chance, my parents weren't there so I didn't do it. But it's been on my mind ever since I got here, and I heard there was a baptism course coming up and just decided to do it. I didn't even have to think about it much, I just felt like it was something I needed to do.
And yes, my American parents obviously can't be here for it, but I've put it off long enough and just need to do it. By the reactions I've gotten from my pastors and people at my church, I know this will be a good thing. So God is taking my disobedience and using it for good at my church. Everyone is just so happy for me and excited that I'm going to get baptized here with them! It's already made me feel like so much more like really a part of the church so I can't wait for the actual day to come!
The only other thing going on is that I'm waiting to start helping with an English Bible study. There are some people from my church who go to the Christian high school in my neighborhood and do a Bible study in French and then English. A lot of the kids there invite there friends who aren't Christian to come hear it because they want to practice their English. They want to start doing it at other schools, not just the Christian one so I'm praying that it'll work out and start soon. But it's really out of my hands so I'm just having to be patient.