I eavesdropped and spied that Jim had flight prices listed on his notepad next to his laptop. It is the middle of January, after all, and he HAS gone to East Africa the last two years in February/March.
On the way to church yesterday, I asked him,
K: So, have you got any dates that you're looking at to go back to Africa?
J: February 5-18th or 19th.
Outwardly I nodded and encouraged him to talk more, which he didn't, of course.
Inwardly I gasped--that is in 3 weeks!!
K: Don't you think you should let the Sunday School class know?
When he didn't tell the class during announcements (he IS the director, after all), I piped up and told him to tell the class what he was thinking of. Yeah. You gotta watch those quiet ones.
So how do I feel about this? That is the question for my personal blog. Typing stuff out really seems to help me get the thoughts and feelings swirling around in my head out of my system so I can do something with them.
For the last couple of years, I just knew that I would get to go to Africa with Jim in 2017. It was even my password for computer sign-ins. Well, here it is, and I'm not going. I don't have a Visa. I haven't had shots. I don't think I'd be much help to Jim in what he is planning to do. He is going to an Agricultural Symposium in Kenya with some others from With Open Eyes, and then he is splitting off to go with Pastor Benson to Tanzania to teach about agriculture techniques such as drip irrigation and soil conservation. He will probably be riding a motorbike out into the bush and sleeping out in the open for a few days with the pastor. I would totally be a hindrance and in the way. My gifts and talents wouldn't be utilized. For me it would just be an experience. A trip. NOT a mission.
It isn't the right time for me to go. He'll be gone for 2 weeks. I couldn't possibly ask for that much time off from school. And I am fine with that. When I do get to go, I want to have a purpose and a mission for going. I want to be exposed to stuff that I could get involved with and be a help toward.
Yes, I am sad and grieve just a little bit that I'm not going, when I have been hoping for two years. But I'm going to adjust and continue to prepare to be the person I would need to be when I DO get to go.
How am I preparing?
1. I'm trying to get healthier to prepare my body for the next 50 years. I've been recording what I eat and counting calories. I've been exercising at the gym regularly, including both cardio and weight-lifting. I'm using SparkPeople.com. If I were to go to work in a refugee camp in East Africa, I'll be walking everywhere, and this hefty 165-lb body just wouldn't be the best equipment for the job.
2. This is going to sound very funny to anyone who isn't a 50-year-old woman, but I'm letting my natural hair color come back in. I have highlighted and dyed it for years. But the true gray is my current goal. The way I see it, if I retire and move to Africa, I won't be able to dye my hair each month, and I'll be two-toned for a year out there. I might as well do it now when I can blend the two colors with streaks of highlights for a few months. And that is just what I've done. I started about October of 2015. I'm more than half-way there. And I'm loving my hair. It is more ME. (Of course, being 20 lbs lighter than I was in 2015 has helped, too!)
3. I'm trying to memorize scripture. I joined the Siesta Scripture Memory Team 2017 with Beth Moore/Living Foundations Ministry. My goal is to memorize one verse every 2 weeks.
4. I'm getting more involved in mentoring. There is a new teacher at school who has asked me to mentor her this year--and she is a delight to work with. (She is challenging ME to work harder!) And I'm working with my church, which is starting up a new mentoring program for ladies. My first memory verse is actually all about this concept for me, it is 1 Peter 5:2 "Be shepherds of God's flock that is under your care, watching over them-not because you have to, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve;".
5. I'm making sanitary pads for the ladies in East Africa. Not only am I sewing them, but I've organized monthly sewing groups at my church to enlist the help of others creating the pads. Getting the assistance of more women is opening the door for them to have the opportunity to get involved in missions with the gifts and abilities that they have, and it doesn't include leaving the country or spending money. Here is my latest ad:
6. I've listed the hardest one last because I haven't done it or started it. I'm a slacker and can't get my rear in gear, here. Last summer, I had an inspiration to scrapbook all of Ben's years through high school. He is a senior, after all. I have everything in pre-sorted boxes and ready to go. I've done the first 5 years. I've cleaned off the kitchen table. I've made it a New Years Resolution. But I can't get in there and start! I can't sit down and get the paper under my fingers. And I LOVE to scrapbook. It is enjoyable. It relaxes me. It offers a lovely opportunity to glance back down memory lane. I get to be creative and design beautiful pages. But I can't get started. I confess. So there you have it. All my goals, and my failure, too. I'm stuck in the off position.
And now my ramblings come to a close.