I wrote a blog similar to this one back when fundraising started, but want to share my story again. This is a letter I mailed out as a thank you to people who donated, but I'm posting here again to share online as a thank you to the people who donated which I did not have a mailing address.
Thank you so much for donating to my Uganda fund! I wanted to share my story with you to let you know more of the long journey that has led up to this trip.
Sitting on my aunt and uncle's floor, at four years old, I heard the telephone ring. My aunt turned the television on and left the room to answer the phone. This simple action changed my life. When my aunt returned, she found me in tears, terrified by the "monsters" I saw on TV.
What I didn't understand was that I had not seen frightening monsters, but an ad to help feed starving children in Africa. My aunt explained to me that in other nations there is no money to buy food, and kids get so hungry, that they end up looking like the images I saw, skin and bone. That's when she told me about missionaries. My little world was turned upside down. I never forgot that day, and I knew from that day on that someday I would go to Africa as a missionary.
Throughout the rest of my childhood, I always felt a sense I was born to be great. My life had a purpose; I was a girl with a mission. Through all hardship endured, I told myself that someday in Africa, I would look back on all this and smile because it only made me stronger.
A lot of bumps and bruises, and some downright crashing and burning through the years; no matter what living situation I was in, or what belief I put my faith in, the one thing that remained true is that I wanted to go to Africa more than any other wish in my life.
First, second, third, and fourth grade I would listen intensely to every missionary who visited my church, and waited anxiously for our church’s missions teams to return so I could ask them all about their trips. In fifth grade I decided someday I wanted to be a missionary nurse in Africa.
Even as I struggled with my faith, and abandoned my belief in God, I never gave up on my dream of going to Africa.
Summer before high school, I got my heart right with God, and felt stronger than ever that my calling was to be a missionary, and to be a missionary in Africa.
By sophomore year I started traveling the world with whatever opportunity arrived, all with the belief it was prepping me for Africa. Mexico, Spain, Kamiah Nez Perce, and Peru; North America, South America, and Europe; all amazing and irreplaceable experiences and all visited before graduating high school.
Junior year of high school, I found an amazing school in Oklahoma, that I wanted so badly to go to. When the money was not there for it, I hoped for a scholarship. When I was disqualified for the scholarship because I was ten points below the SAT requirements, I took it as a sign that I was not meant to go there at that time in my life. However soon, I completely gave up on the dream of going to Oral Roberts University.
I started my first year of community college and I faced a crisis. I failed all of my nursing classes. It was a soul crushing defeat. I knew I was not meant to be a nurse, although that had been the plan since 5th grade. Then began the quest to figure out what it would take to get to Africa. Things were not working out with everything I tried.
The day I decided to quit college, was the day before I saw the video about the fatal flaws in the child welfare system. By the time I had seen this video, I already knew child abuse prevention was something I felt passionately about, but it was while watching this video that God was able to open my eyes and see that I needed to find a career I was good at and interested in, instead of just doing whatever it took to get to Africa.
I prayed and told God, that I would stop trying to get to Africa, and just try to become who I was supposed to be, but that I trusted God to still help my dream of Africa to come true some day.
The day I learned to fully surrender myself, including my hopes and dreams, to God, was the day everything started to fall into place. I changed majors, again, to social work, and I began to love my classes, then I loved my internship, and I gained incredible experiences.
One day I woke up with a challenge from God, to try again with ORU. I tried again and I got a scholarship to the university I loved. I am now in my second semester at the awesome school.
At four I grasped onto a dream. At nineteen I learned to give it up to do what God was calling, and now at twenty two, he has lead me down the road and has placed the opportunity to go to Africa right in front of me.
This is my lifelong story of getting to Africa, and now I am almost there. May 12 to June 12 I will finally be walking on African soil, and I have your support to thank for making this possible. I hope you have enjoyed reading my story, and better appreciate your decision to donate.