Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Africa Freak Out

For the past year and a half I have been thinking about Africa, saving money for Africa, talking about Africa, reading books about Africa. I am excited to go to Africa. Africa. Africa. Africa. This is my life. And now it is 11 days away!

While I have been getting waves of panic for the past month as I have realized how close it is getting, last Monday I went into complete freak out mode. I woke up with my heart racing about the financial part of the trip and just started piling on every other detail still to be managed the rest of the morning

What is there to worry about?

Money: I worked out a perfect financial plan for John's business early this summer but his clients didn't get the memo. One decided not to sign the job, the other signed later than we wanted and a third, while pretty sure will sign is still dragging his feet. All this has put us a month behind my original plan.

Packing: I haven't even started. I need more suitcases, want to buy one new one and borrow one or two. Can't even think of how many little things I need to pick up for the trip, bug spray, shampoo, hand sanitizer, laundry soap...what if I forget something??? Plus, we won't be able to do laundry for the first 10 days we are there, do we all have at least 10 pair of underwear??? There won't be a Super Target down the road!

Medication: I haven't filled our Malaria prescription yet but found out it and the medication in case we get travelers diarrhea is going to be around $700! (see above money section).

Me: I am anticipating getting my period while we are there. The last 2 cycles have only been 3 weeks long. Should I follow suit it will come as we arrive in the village for a week of pit toilet usage. Does this sound like fun?

Isabelle: The reality of how difficult this transition is going to be for her is starting to become apparent. I was just thinking as long as we are together she will be fine but I am starting to see how much she values being at home.

General: We are leaving the country for 2-1/2 weeks. Not only have I never left the country, I have never left home in general for that long. And we are going to work, not hang out and relax together as a family. Plus to share Christ with others, something I typically want to avoid. And this is sharing with people from a totally different culture than mine. What could I possibly have to offer? Can I just stand in the corner with Isabelle and watch? Give me a task but please don't make me talk to people.

OK I think you get the idea. Freaking out. Well since this is my year of prayer, I began the day there. God is good and just assured me he had in under control. He has not taken care of us up to this point just to let us crash right at the end. I spent the day reminding myself of this fact every time another wave of panic would come.

I discovered a new relaxation method that day. Grocery shopping. I ran out before lunch leaving everyone at home and just walked up and down the aisles thinking about the food I needed and meal plans. About half way through the store I realized my body had relaxed for the first time that day. I have always hated grocery shopping so it was an amazing place for me to relax but having something to focus on besides myself, something I know and feel in control of, was just so relaxing. I am going to try to remember that the next time I don't want to grocery shop. Maybe it will keep me from waiting until the pantry is bare.

Once I got home John and I were able to discuss each item separately and realize that they were all under control. I just need to keep them spread out and not let them pile up. I so appreciated that John remained calm and positive during my freak out, it really helped me regain a proper perspective.

And God has been good. My procrastinator friends have sent us more money, putting us above our $5000 fundraising goal! I bought underwear for John and Isabelle yesterday, Jake and I still to come (we are more picky). I found out we do qualify for a bit of a discount on prescriptions, don't know how much yet but anything would be an improvement. And John met with someone about another job that if he signs should easily take care of that month we are behind. God is there. God is good.

I am also reminding myself that women in the village in Kitui also get their periods. God will give me the courage and the words to say when we get there, He has been preparing us all year. Isabelle makes friends everywhere we go and even if she does feel stressed initially she will probably adjust faster than the rest of us, and come home speaking Swahili.

I have 2 suitcases out and an entire week to begin filling them up. Now that my freak out is over the excitement of this adventure we are about to embark on is returning. I can't believe we are so close. It really is happening. It isn't a dream I just talk about forever and never actually do. I am really going to Africa. I am really going to see new things, have new experiences, share Christ love with people on the other side of the world. It is really happening!



  1. Mel, you're doing great. I think a little freakout is necessary! It get's the blood pumpin' and the body movin' to get things accomplished. Oh, and if you need suitcases. We bought a new set last year, so we have an old blue set that we were going to get rid of anyway. I don't know what sizes you need, but let me know if you want them!

  2. It is too bad you can't see yourself as others do. You are brave, sure footed, wise, loving, rooted in the love and word of God. You are exactly where the Lord wants you to be at this time and place my dear daughter and i am so proud of you.