Coming into this trip, I knew I did not qualify. I was not as strong spiritually as those around me, I have never lead a devotional, and I struggled with understanding the Laws of Maat as well as the ankh while being a Christian. Ultimately, I was not strong in my identity other than a Black woman. I had fears about relating to the kids, fears about how the kids at Rafiki would view me and if they would even accept me. My first week at Rafiki, I struggled with my purpose. Don’t get me wrong, I was having fun and beyond blessed for receiving the opportunity to be there but I did not quite understand my purpose there. What exactly would I be showing them through sports? What is my duty to them, is it just to run camps and be on my way after 3 weeks?
During my quiet time in the morning, I prayed for the answers. It was not until, honestly, today, where I started to see all that the Lord has taught me with my time spent. There are 3 key lessons that I learned which are filled with many sub-lessons:
- The importance of having a strong spiritual life; every day I woke up at 7am to spend an hour with God. Asking him all the questions I had, sharing my frustrations and confusions, and I prayed for answers to my questions and an increased depth of spiritual understanding. Reading scripture helped me find some balance in my life that I so desperately needed. This quiet time allowed me to look into my life more and use what the Lord has taught me, to teach the kids in return. My days felt different, more clear, direct, and purposeful.
- The effects of being complacently stagnant; I had allowed my feelings of anxiety and being overwhelmed to halt my efforts into finding ways to make the world a better place. I allowed my numerous awards and achievements to bring me to a place where I was satisfied with what I had. I stopped yearning for more. Through this trip and working with the children the Lord ignited that spark back in my life. While I was there I worked with the kids to come up with plans to change Malawi, we thought about things that wouldn’t make us more money, but rather break down systems of inequality and uplift entire communities. We take a lot for granted here in America, after playing Uno with regular playing cards and games with 3sticks, I noticed the importance of the little things. When I came back to the States, I was upset that we had so much and didn’t share it with others. The Lord showed numerous way in which I can use my resources here to uplift and assist them.
- It was important that I completely detached from everything back in America. I knew I would be a disservice to the kids if I was fixated on things and stresses from back home. I learned the importance of taking time to myself to refocus and regroup. In Mark 1: 35 – 39 Jesus got up early and went to an “uninhabited” place. Lord showed me mine, and I grew because of it. It allowed me to really be in the moment with them and become closer to them. Through our conversations, I learned the importance of representation. Finding your identity is difficult when you do not have the guidance of someone who looks like you, who might understand you more. The Lord showed me the power in representation and I am encouraged to have more friends and family take part in mission trips.
This is not possible without MOAM as well as Rafiki. To say I am grateful would be an understatement. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for seeing in me, what I didn’t see in myself. Thank you for allowing me to teach the kids of Rafiki about my love for the Lord. I asked for wisdom and God gave me problems to solve. I asked for strength and God gave me difficulties to make me strong. I received nothing I wanted, I received everything I needed. I needed this trip, more than I could have imagined!