Being away from the kids is a lot harder than I expected. Actually, I don’t think I knew what to expect. I knew that I was going to like the kids a lot. But I had no idea that I would fall in love with them and Africa.
As I watched the Zambian land pass by when we were taking off in the plane from the Lusaka airport all I could think was, ‘Why am I leaving?’ I was so destructed by the thought that I was physically abandoning the kids and everything in Africa. I wanted to get off of the plane and find my way back from Lusaka to the village in Chongwe.
Coming back to the States has been an interesting transition. When I got to the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport I was amazed at the expensive materials and things that everything was made of. The marble countertops and fancy light fixtures in the bathroom were so excessive. It wasn’t that the materials weren’t beautiful, it was that to me, they weren’t necessary.
It amazed me that when I got home it didn’t (and still hasn’t) feel like home anymore. Even though I was glad to see my family and friends, what I wanted more was to be back with the beautiful young faces that I had spent the past three weeks with.
The hardest part about the transition home from this mission trip compared to other mission trips that I’ve done or other amazing experiences that I’ve had is that the kids are all still together in that village. Rafiki was still a place where if I went back there, they would all be there smiling up at me. For other experiences and mission trips that I’ve done, when I left, so did everyone else. Knowing that the kids are all together going through their daily routine makes me feel like I am missing out so much.
God taught me that he is God over many people. It was proved to me that God’s masterpiece is diverse and significant. Through meeting the kids and people of the Rafiki Village, and the people outside of the village, I was able to truly learn that God has so much more in store for us than we can imagine. His plan is so great and his plan is so perfect.
I have to understand that trusting in Him with all my heart is worth so much more than holding on to any small plans that I have designed for myself. When we are able to follow Christ with everything that we value in life held back up to God as an offering, then we are able to invest in fulfilling faith. Then we can love back a Savior that loves us perfectly.
Shaina Ekstrom, University of Minnesota
To God Be the Glory!
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