Even as a child I was captivated by world missions. I loved the missions stories Lucille Robinson told each month at CYC. I loved reading the Missionary Tidings, our denominational magazine, and getting to know who was serving where. Even more, I loved to meet the missionaries when they were home on furlough and visited our church or family camp. Early on I began to dream of far away places where I might one day go to tell people about Jesus.
Africa was the first place I dreamed about.
Once Dr Marguerite Palmer, medical missionary to Mozambique, was the guest speaker at our midweek service. The CYCers were invited to join the adults in the sanctuary. After her slides and comments, Dr Palmer asked if there were any questions. A girl raised her hand and asked, "Do you have any black widows in Africa?" (I do believe she was thinking of spiders, but it really threw Dr Palmer for a loop!)
It turns out there are many, many widows in Africa. In Burundi, especially. During a twelve-year (1993-2005) ethnic conflict in this central African country, nearly a million people were killed -- mostly men -- and thousands of women were left widowed.
Sister Connection was created to provide monthly support for Burundi's widows and offer them healing, dignity, and hope. Through Sister Connection, women are provided the resources they need to feed and clothe their children and find meaningful work. These women, once despised and victimized, are now getting their lives back. Sister Connection also builds homes for women with inadequate housing. This is all done through the help of sponsors, much like programs for child sponsorship that you have seen advertised on TV.
Each summer, Sister Connection provides a retreat for the sponsored widows and camps for their children. Three hundred widows and nearly 1500 children and youth will attend Sister Connection events this July!
And I am planning to be there!!
Here's what happened:
At 1:30 last Monday I was folding clothes upstairs when a very clear thought passed through my mind. Denise Patch (US director of SC) told me she'd take me to Africa with her some day. The thought passed and I finished up my task. When I went back to the computer, I saw that I had an e-mail from Denise, asking me to join the team that is going to Burundi for the widow's retreat. She said she felt the Lord prompt her to invite me. Shad posted her e-mail at 1:30!
There are many details to be worked out, but I believe it was the Lord who spoke to my heart and to Denise's. I am so looking forward to watch how He brings the details together to make this trip a reality.
And now I invite you to pray with me that I will depend fully upon the Lord and that He will work out the details to make this trip happen.
At long last, my dream to go to Africa is being fulfilled.