God has been moving like crazy in my heart during this trip. I have felt exhaustion and energy. I have felt so filled up and I have felt so emptied out. I’m so glad that I did have the opportunity to visit the Rafiki Village in Zambia. Every week I learn more about the kids here and fall more in love with their personalities.
I connected with a young girl named Felistas early on in the trip. She is quick to laugh, easy to get along with, and always has a lot to say. I loved Felistas because she was always around and making things fun. One of the best parts about Felistas is that she will bring up God at the best times. She wrote me a note that was full of reassurance about the power that God has and his ability to use our lives for good. I thought it was so amazing that at such a young age, she was able to verbalize her trust in God.
Another favorite part of this past week has been to connect more with one of the long-term missionaries here named Miss Karen. She has been so wise and gracious to us these past few weeks. I love how she walks around the village and gets things done. I’ve seen her play many roles since we have been here. I’ve seen Karen feeding chickens, building a playhouse for the kids, leading the morning song, and grilling burgers and hotdogs for us on the Fourth of July.
She has been such an inspiration for me. Karen has showed me what it looks like to generously offer your life back up to God. She is so comfortable where she is while also being comfortable with wherever God wants her to be next.
God has taught me many things in these past couple of weeks. One of the biggest lessons has been learning how to guard my heart and how to guard the hearts of people around me. As humans we are so lead by our emotions. But before I left for Zambia a very wise friend of mine set me down and talked about how important it is for all of us to guard our hearts.
What she means by that is we need to be careful with how we interact with each other. We have to be aware of how our actions impact each other as well as how our words impact each other. From being with these kids it would be easy for me to give them everything that I have and open my heart fully to them. The issue with doing that is I would leave with a broken heart. So what God revealed to me is that it is a beautiful gift to spend time with these kids, but all my joy cannot be given and taken away in these precious moments.
It was another lesson from God for me that Jesus has to be the only source of my forever-soul joy. While the things of this world are beautiful and amazing, they are not what satisfies me. //Thank you God for another day that I get to serve you and experience more of the beauty that you have made in this world. I pray that I would accept your grace to love on your people with everything that I have, but also guard their heart and my own.
Shaina Ekstrom, University of Minnesota
To God be the Glory!
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