Everything will change. A Ministry of WorldVenture.
The Journey Corps slogan is “Everything will change”. It’s prophetic, because everything has changed for me and this is why… Six days ago my host mom asked me if I wanted to go to a funeral in the village. This is the first time she had asked me to go and I really wanted to because she was so excited for me to see it and dance with her. That morning though I was feeling a little off color. I had a little diarrhea and my body ached a little bit. I wasn’t sure what I had. I thought it might be malaria starting but I wanted to wait and see how my symptoms developed before I started taking the meds for malaria because I had heard they are strong. I really didn’t feel all that bad so I decided to go. Bad idea. All I wanted to do was lay down so my host mom set up a spot for me on a mat on the floor outside where all the women were. My body started to hurt more and more, I developed a fever, and was very tired but couldn’t sleep. Eventually, my mom saw that I was extremely tired and call her husband to come and get me. He was in a meeting I think and wasn’t able to come right away. As soon as he was finished and returned home he was going to have my brother Edmond drive the motorcycle (that he was using at the time) and pick me up. They all just thought I was tired and that it wasn’t urgent. My host mom doesn’t speak/understand French very well so it was hard to explain what was wrong. I had lay down again and waited for him to come. My pain and fever increased and I started to cry. I had to go behind the house away from everyone telling them I had to blow my nose (which was true as well) and just broke down crying. Ivorians believe it is shameful to cry unless someone has died, so this is why I had to go away. I got myself together and was able to go back to the women. Not too long after that my mom got tired of waiting for her son to come and get me (she could see something was wrong I think by then) and was able to find a man who was willing to take me back to the house. Then on the way we passed my brother who took me the rest of the way. I went straight into my room and started the medicine for malaria (by then I was 100% sure that’s what it was). Then I lay down and just cried because I hurt so bad and was so hot. I had never been so sick in my life. When my sister Bintou (who I share a room with) came into the room I told her my whole body hurt, I was really hot, and was crying. She got scared when I told her I was crying because she didn’t know I was and it was dark in the room so she couldn’t have known unless I told her. The whole family jumped into action. It was then I think they realized I was really sick and not just tired. They had me take a bucket bath which helped a lot to cool down my fever, then had me lay down outside because it was cooler than in the house. My sister even messaged my back for me where it hurt the most. They tried to get me to eat but food did not sound good. I was able to eat a little rice with milk and sugar. I took some sleeping medicine and slept really well and when I woke up I felt so much better. The fever was gone and the body aches had lessened. Though that morning I ended up having to vomit up last night’s meal. I slept off and on throughout the day and kept taking the malaria meds. Tricia came to visit me later in the evening and by then I thought I was feeling much better. She brought me some snacks and drinks which was so sweet. I was touched by that. But, before she left to go see Almut I had to go throw up again all I had just eaten and the medicine I had taken. My host dad came out when he found out I was vomiting again and said he wanted to take me to Robin (a missionary I know who runs the Dispensary where he works). So, I called her and told her the problem and she told me to come on in. When we had just reached the Dispensary he got a phone call which must have been Robin telling him she wanted to keep me over night, but I didn’t know it. He took me straight to Robin’s house which is on the campus of the Dispensary. She met us at the door with Christy (a missionary who also works there and is about my age). Then my dad told me he would see me tomorrow and left. I was so confused because I thought I was just going in for her to look at me and maybe give me some meds and send me home. Instead she took me right over to the Dispensary and hooked me up to an IV. I had brought nothing with me but some money in case I had to buy medicine. So, I had no phone to let people know where I was, no change of clothes, etc. She said she wanted to keep me over night because unlike Ivorians I am not immune to malaria and she wanted to make sure it was taken care of. The next morning they took the IV out and I was able to go over to Robin’s house and rest. My dad came to see me first thing in the morning to see how I was doing. I was just really tired but unable to sleep. I thought I was going to go home with him at the end of the day but when he came to the house in the evening he said Robin thought it was a good idea for me to stay another night (but actually I found out from her later she had actually said if he found me sleeping or really tired to go ahead and leave me there another night). He just wanted to make sure I was better before he took me back to the house. I told him I preferred to go back to the house and he laughed and was pleased I think that I actually wanted to go back but he left me there. I wasn’t very happy about any of it. Having to stay an extra day, being tired but not able to sleep, having to drink all the medicine I had to take because I can’t swallow pills. Even though I wasn’t happy about the situation I was grateful for everything Robin, Christy, and Amanda did for me. They were all so great treating me with the up most hospitality and love. Little did I know that God was about to turn my world upside down. The night I stayed at her house I had to wake up at midnight to take one of my meds. I went back to bed preparing to fall back to sleep when an idea began to grow. It must have come from God, because it came out of nowhere. Something I would never have thought about doing. The idea was to start a mango business. I know there is a problem with preserving mangos in Cote d’Ivoire. These trees are all over the place and many mangos are wasted. I also know many Americans love mangos and the mangos that are sold now in the states are expensive and not very good. I think the Holy Spirit was guiding/giving/teaching me all that I was to do. The main purposes of the business would be to glorify God and provide good paying jobs for the Ivorians who are in need. In between all the ideas God was giving me I would think this is crazy, impossible, and why am I even thinking about this. It probably went on for hours before I finally fell asleep. The next day just continued with the Lord telling me more and more what this company was to look like and how it would be ran. All guided by his hand to bring him glory. I have never felt so convicted about something in my life other than about God wanting me to be a missionary. Then the Lord told me that he had been telling me since I was 13 years old to be a missionary just so he could get me here to Cote d’Ivoire, have me fall in love with the people, give me a desire to help the poor, so that I could go back to the states and start this company for God’s glory and for the good of the poor people in Cote d’Ivoire. To me this sounds completely crazy. I have never felt competent enough to run a business even though in college I double majored in Business Administration and General Business. Though it is odd that I was committed to being a missionary my freshman year of college after I had already chosen my majors and even so I never felt lead to change those majors. So, anyways these ideas I have been having I know are not from me. The next day again the Lord kept giving me more and more ideas. These ideas were specific, clear, and just really good. I sat down and tried to write them down, but they were coming too fast and so many that I could have written for days and still not have finished. If I had had my computer I might have been able to get much of it typed. The next night again I had to wake up to take medicine and couldn’t fall asleep and the Lord started in again with more and more directions. Finally, I told God that night something to this effect, “Lord, I’m so glad you are talking to me and giving me all these wonderful ideas and I am really excited about this but could you please stop for now so I can sleep?” I still wasn’t able to sleep and ideas still came. I found out later that it wasn’t God necessarily keeping me awake with the ideas. I wouldn’t have been able to sleep any ways. My sickness and the meds I was taking were messing my body up and no matter how tired my body was my mind was numb. My mind never got tired and it never speed up like sometimes happens when you have lack of sleep. That night was my first night back in my host family after leaving Robins. My host family was so happy I was back and looking better. That first day back as well Almut came to visit me and I talked to her about everything or at least the short version of what God had been telling me. Then she told me something pretty amazing. She told me her host dad has been giving out loans to people for years and has like 200 people he has helped, but he would like my help in doing research and planning on how to make it more professional. This is Micro-Credit Banking project what I had hoped to get involved with and an Ivorian is already doing it so it isn’t dependent on me. So, when I leave it won’t just die. The next day Tricia came to visit and explained everything to her as well. But, I was feeling worse that day and couldn’t sit up for very long and I found out that night why. I got to the point that evening where I didn’t have the energy even to sit up. I felt horrible. My phone was next to me and I called Robin and told her what was wrong. She told me the malaria meds had caused my blood sugar to drop and I needed to get sugar and calories into me to drink Fanta and Coke. My little 4 or 5 year old sister had wondered into my room at that time and I told her to go get Bintou for me. She did and Bintou came. I told her what I needed and why, gave her money, and she went out to get it. When she got back I drank a whole Fanta and the difference was like night and day. I was up and talking/laughing with Bintou. I sent a message to Robin telling her it worked. She wanted me to come back to the Dispensary in the morning when my dad was going in to work and told me to prepare to stay the weekend which would mean I would be there for 4 days. That night ended up being the worst night of my life. Every time I had to take the malaria meds I would feel like crap. It felt like a bug bomb going off in my body killing the malaria but hurting me in the process. The side effects increased with each dose I had to take. I had to drink so much pop to level it out which made me have to go pee probably every half hour. I again did not sleep at all that night. At about one in the morning I remembered I had forgotten to take my doxy (my malaria meds I have taken every night since being in Africa). This is when the scariest thing of all happened. Robin had given me doxy pills that were a lot smaller than the ones I normally take. The ones I normally take are capsules I open and put into water to drink. By that time I was tired of taking meds that tasted horrible so I decided to just take the small pill and swallow it. I had swallowed that same pill the night before so knew I could do it. I have had a fear of choking since I was a child and never would swallow pills unless they were super tiny. So, I go to take the pill and start to choke on it and trying to vomit it back up but it wouldn’t come. It starts to go down a little and I can still breathe because it’s just a tiny thing, but I am freaking out. My sister Bintou (who I share a room with) hears me and wakes up. I’m able to explain what is wrong and she tells me to drink. So, I down a whole coke and some water when she finally made me stop drinking. She said I was drinking too much and was going to hurt my stomach. But, I still felt like it was in my throat. She kept trying to convince me it wasn’t there. Told me to calm down because she said she saw I was very afraid. She kept telling me very calmly to not be afraid and to calm myself. But, I truly believed it was still in my throat. Finally, she got me to lie down and then the sweetest thing happened. She held my hand to help comfort me. She fell asleep but I couldn’t and I still felt something in my throat. I kept telling myself that it wasn’t there. That it wasn’t possible for it to be there but the feeling in my throat increased and again my fear increased. I sat up and prayed to God because I felt I was being spiritually attacked. I asked God to take away my fear telling him I know he has set me free from the power of fear. After praying for awhile doing spiritual battle with Satan with the Lord fighting for me the fear lessened and peace came. I was able to lie back down, but not sleep. At about 3 in the morning I began to get the feeling in my throat again. I was tired of lying down so I went into the living room to read my Bible. The feeling in my throat increased along with the side effects from the malaria meds. About 5am I started to panic, because of the feeling in my throat. It felt like the tiny doxy pill I had taken was in the back of my throat and trying to come out. It felt like the exact size of the pill as it was hard. It was at this point I lost my grip entirely. I became delirious and no wonder since I had slept maybe 3 or 4 hours the last 2 days, suffering the effects of malaria and the meds and facing a spiritual attack of pure fear. I went outside to try and throw up what I was convinced by now had to be that doxy pill trying to come up, but it wouldn’t come. I put my finger in my mouth trying to make myself vomit it out but nothing came. I started to cry feeling completely hopeless. My host mom and Bintou were out there with me telling me not to force it, to not cry, and to calm down. I asked if they could find me some bread. I thought if I ate it would make it go down. They couldn’t find any bread because it was 5am. Then I got a crazy idea that I needed to be given the hiemleck. They had no idea what I was talking about. I literally got Bintou behind me, put her hands in position, and told her what to do but she couldn’t. I did the same thing with my brother Edmond, but he too couldn’t do it. They were afraid of hurting me. Though I kept telling them they wouldn’t hurt me, but they wouldn’t do it. Now, if I had been in my right mind I know that even if there had been a pill like that in my throat they hiemleck would do nothing because it only works if your throat is blocked and you use it to force the air from your lungs to create pressure to make it come out. But, my state of mind was not rational and instead believed what my fear was telling me. My mind was searching for some way to either make the pill go down or come up. My host dad was ready to leave and right before I got on the motorcycle I vomited. They thought it had come out with that, but it hadn’t. The feeling was still in my throat. My dad took me to the Dispensary to Robin’s house. Robin wasn’t there so he left me there and went to go find her. Praise God that there was a doctor at her house. This doctor comes up once a week from Abidjan to work there stays the night and leaves the next day. Robin was going to put me on an IV again but the doctor said I would be just fine if the dose of my meds was decreased. Then the doctor and Robin explained that what I was feeling in my throat was not that pill. They explained to me how the throat works which reminded me of things I knew and needed to be reminded of. Then the doctor explained to me that sometimes people who have malaria develop a feeling in their throat exactly as I had described. She said it feels very real but really there is nothing there. I broke down crying with relief and the more I told myself that it wasn’t real and just a feeling and believed it the feeling began lessen until it was completely gone. Later on I prayed with Christy and Amanda. I was able to praise and thank God. Even thanking him for everything I had gone through, because I know he used it to change me and bring me closer to him. I have learned so much. I have been asking for God’s will to be done since I came to Africa and this was his will for me. Not to hurt me but to make me stronger in the faith. I was at my weakest point physically than I had ever been and he was made strong in my weakness. I felt so bad for my host family. I think I scared them and I hate that I did that though I didn’t have much control over it. I have come to love them just as much as my own family. Looking back it makes sense I was spiritually attacked. Here are the reasons: while I was sick God was giving me plans and ideas for the future that if everything worked out would bring great glory to God, the Lord was building up my confidence in him and myself that I could run a business something I had always thought impossible, Almut had told me her dad has already started like a Micro-Credit business of giving out loans to the poor and he wanted me to help him to research and planning so he could make it better and more professional which was a huge answer to prayer because I knew that I myself could not start a business like that in the time I was to be here so it’s great an Ivorian has already started it and will keep it going even after I have left. I can see why Satan wasn’t very happy and attacked. But, God is stronger and Satan has no hold over me. I have been freed from sin, fear, and death because of what Christ has done. What an amazing God we have! A passage in 2 Cor. 1:3-11 really comforted me. I felt like I was Paul when I read it. Thank you everyone for your prayers. Give glory to God for this story and not to me. I did nothing. God did everything.