Bekah: Sitting down to write a blog after three weeks in an office is a little daunting. We spent the last month traveling 17,434 miles to Africa and back, and now our daily walk to the office is about forty feet. Then as I think about these three weeks, I realize that the adventures have still been there. No, they are not quite as grand as traveling to three different countries and eating fish eyes and chicken feet…but they’re still there. Everyday we get the opportunity to write stories and make videos about what God is doing around the world. That right there is an incredible honor. One of the most impactful stories I’ve had the privilege of working on is a children’s book for Shekinah Babies Home, located in Kampala, Uganda. In our first blog about Uganda I wrote about Susan, and her heart for rescuing babies off the street. One of the ways we’re helping spread the word about her ministry is writing a children’s book. Or attempting to write one. I’ve never done something like this, and honestly it scares the stink out of me. I keep praying God would give me the words to say that His name would be honored and this book would play a small part in helping more of those sweet babies to be rescued from the roads. On top of putting together stories, every day is filled with small adventures: Chick-fil-A Cow Appreciation Day (yes, we definitely dressed up as cows). 7/11 free Slurpees (you’re never too old, right?). Talking about books. Talking about movies. Reminiscing over our time and the people we miss. Talking about more books and more movies. As I look back over our time in Ft. Myers, some of my fondest memories are the evenings where we’re gathered in Abigail’s kitchen. Up to our elbows in ingredients, singing along with music, and laughter filling our hearts as we attempt to make food. While our days are no longer filled with the sound of children yelling or drums beating, our days are still filled with as much love, excitement, and adventure as they were when we traveled.
Sarah: This summer has been one of the greatest blessings, but also one of the greatest challenges I have faced. I am so blessed to have Abigail and Bekah. They are some of the most incredible women I have ever had the pleasure to be around. Each have taught me many lessons. Bekah is one of the most talented people I have ever met. Her pictures astound me and she has a way with words that makes her writing incredible to read. But she is also an amazing woman. She has so much faith in God; even in the moments that if I were her, I would question Him, she remains faithful. And she is able to make friends wherever she goes which is a talent that passes my capability. Abigail is our team leader. She is now my greatest role model. Abigail has a kind heart and she is able to feel other people’s suffering but also other people’s joy. She can cook better than Betty Crocker (her chocolate cake is to die for). And she taught Bekah and I how to sew. But the thing I love most about Abigail is her generous and selfless spirit. She is always willing to cook for other people, or to host baby showers at her home, or to read Harry Potter to me at eleven o’clock at night, or even to allow two girls to stay in her home for a month. She has shown me what it means to follow God, even if His plans don’t line up with your desires.
I look back on this summer and sometimes wonder, how did I get here? And my answer is always, God stepped in. He has been directing my steps and changing my plans subtly for the past few years. And it took me till now to realize what it is He is doing. He has radically changed my heart. This summer has also been an eye opener. I have realized many of my flaws. Like my need to always be perfect and to have my next fifty steps planned out. And I have realized how much that limits God. God knows so much better than me, so why do I have this pathological need to plan out my future? God has made me see that I must give my dreams to Him. And maybe He will give them back, but that’s not the point. The point is to trust and faith in Him and even to follow Him even if you don’t want to. It doesn’t matter if it is my dream or not, as long as I am completing God’s greater purpose.
Abigail: Coming back and reflecting on on our time in Uganda, Rwanda, and Malawi; I am struck by the common theme we saw in every country we visited – God’s people are doing awesome and beautiful things. Every country we visited, we saw national Christians living out their callings in ways as diverse as they were, and missionaries who were serving them, undergirding and empowering what they were doing, letting the nationals lead the way in their home countries. It was true in every single place we went.
Arriving back to Fort Myers is coming home for me, while it was still another stop in the journey for Bekah and Sarah. It was my delight to now play the role of the host missionary and to step back and watch them both create stories and videos to share back with our missionaries, for their use. God has gifted both of them with immense creativity and heart. I have learned from them and been blessed to watch them bless our missionaries and ministries with their gifts. The “9 to 5” of office work is not always the most glamourous but the results that come are already being utilized by the missionaries we visited – videos are being shared with their supporters and ministries, the first social media posts created for them are being posted, and a newsletter created for a national missionary is in the final stages of printing and mailing. We went to see, to listen, to care, and to turn around and tell those stories. I never want to neglect the privilege that it is to hear and share another brother or sister in Christ’s story to others, so that God can get the glory for what He is doing around the world. It is my joy for our team to carry the stories we have been told from our family in Uganda, Rwanda, and Malawi and share them in any way we can.