A little over 2 weeks til we leave for Zambia! We leave September 3rd and return September 20th (except Jason and Chris return Sept. 11th). Flights are DFW to DC to Johannesburg to Livingstone. Those traveling in our group are myself (prosthetist), John (ocularist), Suzanne (prosthetist), her son Cole, Rochelle (Suzanne's cousin). Jason (my husband) and Chris (engineer) will be working on installing solar energy equipment with another few guys there...we refer to them as "the solar guys". And another young lady is traveling to New Day with us who is taking a gap year to stay for an extended time as a volunteer at the orphanage. Between the 8 of us and our extra baggage with supplies, it will be quite interesting at the airports.
So many emotions this year. And so many areas of personal growth since last trip.
Learning to stay flexible: We've been trying to stay with a trip each Spring but had to push this year's trip back to September to make sure back up generators made it there on the shipping container. The change in date reminded me that I have very little control in this situation...or any situation for that matter. A lesson in trust and faith in our Father to guide me through each day.
The shipping containers have arrived with most supplies and equipment. We are still unsure on several items (like the sewing machine). There will be another container leaving with the rest of our supplies and more that will hopefully be there before next year's trip.
The laminating resin was at the Zambian border as of Monday, coming from South Africa. Praying the rest of transport goes smoothly so that the resin arrives before we do.
Learning to be brave: I'm so sad and so nervous that Chris will not be able to make this year's trip. Suzanne, another prosthetist with years of experience like Chris, will be going but this is her first trip. Chris has been my mentor and "safety net" for the past 2 times I've been to Zambia. I feel nervous that she won't be there. A lot of my excitement I've had in the past as the trip gets closer is overshadowed by doubts and fears. I'm trying to see that this is an opportunity to learn to trust and lean on our Father for strength, wisdom and endurance. I'm so much of a "I can take care of it/I can be strong" kind of person...I need to learn to "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight." Proverbs 3:5-6. I keep trying to remember that I am just the "hands and feet" and God will direct this mission where He wants it to go.
Learning to talk in depth about my call (and Chris and John's) to this mission: It seems that the longer and more involved Prosthetic Promises' mission gets and the more discussions I have with people, the more I encounter questioning, even judgement, and self doubt on my part. Don't get me wrong....I've had tons of awesome conversations with people about Prosthetic Promises. It's just not all "sunshine and butterflies". I've found that global missions doesn't appeal to as many people as "keeping it local". Lots of questions about why Zambia, why do you do it this way, etc. Describing why we put this much effort and planning and funds into serving people across the globe is sometimes difficult for me to articulate to someone. And conveying that we really are trying to do responsible mission work is hard since everyone's opinion on this is different. I just feel God has called me to do this.
"Comparison kills contentment". A quote that was shared at bible study this week while we were discussing Luke 18: 9-25. It sure does---I was pretty content in life until I made my first trip to Zambia in 2014. Compare my life, our lives, here in the U.S., the land of opportunity and plenty, to those in many other parts of the world. I'm comparing....and I'm not content....I have the responsibility to do something to change the world. This is why I feel called to Prosthetic Promises' mission.
We would SO appreciate your prayers for our trip! Safe travel, having the supplies we need, that people will be able to get to us for prosthetic services. But above everything...that we give glory to God in all that we do and say during this trip. This is about Him, not about us.