Saturday, September 5, 2009

Meet the Team

Why would someone go halfway around the world to spend time with people in Africa? Why would they take time off work, spend so much time on an airplane, enter into the lives of poverty and suffering?

I asked some of the people on the 2009 Malawi team to tell me about their journey to decide to go to Malawi. Here is what they told me. In their own words (mostly).

Mark Ruff
My wife, Carmen, and I have been attending The Grove for over a year now. On one of the first Sundays we attended, Palmer had people come up and put their name on a board if they committed to going to a foreign country in the years ahead. I sat on my hands because I knew it was the right thing but was afraid of leaving the comfort of my home.

A year later, I am leaving to be 9000 miles from home.

As I prepare to go, what God has been teaching me this year is that my life is supposed to be uncomfortable and uncommon.

Jennifer Job
I went to the Africa meeting several months ago thinking it was for Malawi ’10, when I heard in that meeting what they were doing in ’09 it intrigued me to be able to go over with a small group and lay the foundation for years to come with trips to Malawi.

I have always had the desire to go on a mission trip since I was in junior high. I wanted to go to Haiti to help build a church and my Mom would not let me go because she said I would be to afraid of spiders and conditions over there. Apparently, I give off the impression that I am high maintenance. My Mom had the same reaction when I told her that I was going to Africa, but now I am old enough to make my own decisions.

Honestly, the feeling God has put in my heart to do what I can to help has always been there and the possibility to actually act on those long held and deep feelings is unexplainable.

Kim Franken
I really prayed about going to africa again this year. Last year I went with my husband Daryl and son Derek. We left our 4 years old, Spencer, home with friends. The thought of going this year and leaving my family behind was difficult. I prayed that god would let me know if He wanted me to go. I was so undecided. I think I drove my husband crazy because one minute I wanted to go and the next I didn't. I woke one morning and my head was filled with all of the things that I wanted to help accomplish in Chiuza. I knew that God wanted me to go.

God is teaching me to let go and trust in him. I am using this time to help our oldest son become more independent. He is a senior in high school and needs to learn to do laundry and cook, you know, bachelor survivor skills. My husband Daryl does not cook but he can order some mean take-out and I have faith that my friends will not let him or the kids starve.

John Vice
I think I am moved by the stories that everyone has talked about. I feel God has called me to help where ever help is needed. I also think that this will really mature my walk. I am looking forward to the stories and the bonding with not only the group I am going with, but with the people that we are going to meet.

I think God has taught me to rely on Him for everything. Before this trip I valued a lot of material values and was very worried about my everyday life. When we give it to God and pray, we don't have to worry about what makes us look or sound good, as well as worry about the craziness we clam our lives to be.

I think personally that the power of prayer can move mountains. I also feel like the fact that my wife is content with me being gone will be a big help. I think other support would be to just make sure that everyone is aware of the impact we make as Christians is world changing.

Corey Stamen
I feel God is teaching me how important it is to pray. Prayer has never been a big enough part of my walk and now that I am in a position to really NEED God to provide, I am praying more than ever. My funding is not what I would like it to be, especially with less than 2 weeks till we depart. I must be diligent and persistent with my petitions. My family cannot afford to fund most of this trip. I need to have faith and know that God will see this through, somehow, someway.

I really want to yield to God's guidance. I want to eagerly and without fear or reservation do His will. God has done so very much in my life and want's to do great things in other people's as well. I want to be able to share that and show them how great and powerful God really is.

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