It all started innocently enough.
One Saturday night, my friend Caitlin mentioned in passing that she knew this guy, and we would be cute together, and oh by the way “he’s called to Africa, so you’d have to be willing to move there.”
Yeah, whatever. I’m not called into missions, I don’t want to go into missions, there’s no way I’m going to marry a missionary and move to Africa.
However. This is not the first time that I’ve heard the “I know this guy….but he’s going into missions” sentence structure from one of my friends. For some reason, the guys that my friends think I could date are going to be missionaries. Which is ridiculous, because, you know, I’m never going into missions.
When I tell this to Caitlin, she says that maybe God’s trying to tell me something. I laugh it off and move on, because please, God doesn’t tell me that I’m called to Africa by dropping hints that I should date a missionary boy.
Later that night, I make a Cookout run with Sarah. We’re sitting in the parking lot at 11:30 pm, drinking our milkshakes and talking through life, when I mention the conversation I had with Caitlin.
It’s funny, because this has been the joke my entire life. My friends joke that I’ll get married young, move to Africa, have and adopt a bunch of kids, homeschool them, and spend my days loving on orphans – none of which are part of my plan. I don’t want to do any of those things. And yet, friends keep mentioning that I should meet this guy (but he’s going to be a missionary).
Sarah laughs when she hears this, says “well hey, maybe you should go to Africa”, and we carry on.
(side note: Sarah, by the way, is no stranger to international missions. She’s been on two trips with Adventures in Missions (AIM), led a high school trip to Uganda this past summer, and will be launching for the World Race in July).
Somehow, through a lot of laughter and tangents, we end up talking about this summer. I’ve been planning for the past two years to find an internship or do an REU (Research Experience for Undergraduates… gotta build up that resume, yo). What I hadn’t taken into account is the fact that I’m going to be studying abroad in the spring, and the semester at University of Malta runs February through June. My summer will be lasting around 6 weeks – not enough time for an REU, not enough time for an internship. Who is going to hire the student that can work for a month when another student can work for three?
All of a sudden, Sarah puts down her milkshake. She sits up straight and looks at me, eyes wide. She’s as excited about something as Chris Traeger is about organic protein shakes, and I have no idea why (by the way, if you didn’t get that reference, just substitute “as a kid in a candy shop” and that’ll work as well). Luckily (or unluckily) for me, I find out right away.
Sarah: YOU SHOULD GO TO AFRICA.
Me: Ha. Ha.
Sarah: NO BUT REALLY. GO TO AFRICA. AIM HAS THIS TRIP IT’S CALLED EXPOSURE YOU GO TO AFRICA FOR A MONTH. IT’S JULY. THAT’S YOUR MONTH OF SUMMER. GO TO AFRICA.
Of course, being the mature, adult, wise, here-I-am-send-me kind of person that I am, I respond in the best way possible by yelling “NO! I’M NOT GOING TO AFRICA!”
(spoiler alert: I’m going to Africa.)
Despite my best efforts to throw every excuse to not go to Africa I can find at Sarah (I need to work. I can’t raise the money for Africa. I can’t come home from five months abroad and then leave right away for Africa. I don’t want to. I hate bugs), she persists in telling me about the trip, telling me that I should go, telling me that God would provide the money.
I refuse to listen.
Eventually, we drive back to campus and she drops me off at my dorm. Before I get out of the car, I look at her and declare, one more time, that I am not going to Africa, I am not called into missions, I am never going to go to Africa. She just laughs at me as I realize that I should know better than to tell God what I won’t do.
I climb out of her car, yell to the night sky “IT’S ALL DOWNHILL FROM HERE”, slam the door, and head inside.
this summer, I’ll be spending a month in East Africa with Adventures in Missions on the World Race Exposure trip. over the next few days, I’ll be explaining the crazy circumstances that took me from being dead set against missions to ridiculously excited to go to Africa, over the course of one month. you can read the next part here.