Thursday, May 26, 2011

How Far I’ve Come but… Where am I Going?

This week I had a girl from the States staying with me and my family in Korhogo. It was a fun and eye opening experience. First of all, I was her TRANSLATOR!!! Please, everyone keep in mind that I didn’t know ANY French before I came. Can I just say praise God, I am learning French?! Having an outsider in my house just reminds me of how it was when I first got here and didn’t know how anything worked. Somehow, this place that was once strange and distant has become home. This is my family here. And I am proud to show them off to anyone that should happen to pass through Logokaha (my little village). I know the drill now and that feels so good. I am no longer just a visitor.

So these last couple of days has shown me how far I have come since February even. But the last sentence about not being a visitor anymore is what makes it so hard to think about where I am going. Because that brings the possibility that it might be away from here. We have begun discussing plans for next year. (Pause here to say that this year is going by sooo fast!) The leader of Journey Corps wants us to each be thinking about whether we could stay here in Cote d’Ivoire to be leaders for the next group. My first reaction was no, then it changed to maybe, and then I thought that that was something God really wanted for me. My pastor here told me that there would be an opportunity to start reaching out to a near by village to hopefully plant a church there. My heart rose, this is what I want to do! We set the date for the 28th (this Saturday) to go and make initial connections. Just a couple of days ago my pastor said that the village is really closed to having Christians come. Missionaries have been trying to get into this village for years. My heart sank. This opportunity made me think God wanted me to stay and help this get started.

Yesterday, I was missing the States. It is not that I am not happy here. I just know that so much is happening with my family and friends stateside and that is hard not to be apart of. Every time I go on facebook it seems there is a baby being born or someone getting married. The reality is that life keeps going even though I am not there….shocking right!? Today, I was reading in a book about how many times we should do the thing we are most afraid of. For me that happens to be returning to the US. I studied International Missions and that is what I am doing right now. If I go back to the States, what will I do? If I go back I have to make decisions about the future, if I stay here the decision is made for the moment. In some ways staying seems like it would just be prolonging the inevitable of returning to the States for next steps. So at this point I am thinking of returning this fall. I would love for you to be praying, though for clarity in this area. I know that God wanted me to come, but does He want me to stay?

Thank you so much for your support through this journey…it is definitely not over yet and I am thrilled to have you along with me, to debrief with and get an outside perspective. Let me know if you have any thoughts for what I could do next! I pray for you and thank God for you daily. Merci et que Dieu te benisse.
<3 Heidi

Monday, May 2, 2011

The Body of Christ and the Hair of Heidi

Isn’t it incredible how a day can start out great, become awful, and then end up being one of the best days? That was Saturday for me. Started out pretty normal with my bucket bath and reading my Bible, but because of some miscommunications and differences in communicating style I got really frustrated. Normally Saturday mornings we have a team meeting with the five of us Journeyers who live in Korhogo. But I had forgotten that I said was going to a funeral with my family. My family could tell that I wanted to go to my team meeting so my host dad told me to go to my meeting and he would take me to the funeral in the afternoon. I was just feeling drained, frustrated and angry still during the meeting. I prayed that God would somehow fill me enough to make it through the funeral. It is tiring to always be different, and the fact that I am white is especially apparent in the village.

So at about three in the afternoon my papa and I take off for the village. Along the road he stops to buy some peanuts for us to eat and I realize that this is the first time I have ever hung out with my papa. Once we got off the main road, he stopped the moto and asked me if I wanted to drive since there were no cars. So I move up front and he jumps on behind me. He holds the handles with me…the whole time. But I didn’t mind that, it was just the sweetest moment, and I thanked God for answering my prayer from the morning. It refilled me and reminded me why I am here. It also reminded me of when my mom was teaching me to drive and insisted on sitting in the driver’s seat with me while she tried to hold the door closed. Miss you, mom!

So if you don’t already know it, I would like to introduce you to the body of Christ. I realized that the fact that my feelings get hurt and I get angry means that I am engaged here. Saturday I experienced the frustration of being a part of the body of Christ but also the beauty of it. The body of Christ is no machine, it surprises you. It endures horrible pains, but can be a thing of wonder, joy and love. My papa isn’t my real dad but we are related by blood, the blood of Christ. And the blood of Christ covers a multitude of things, one of them being cultural differences and color of skin.

Oh and I got my hair braided again...haha.