I've been wanting to write a letter filling you all in on all the details of how God has lead me to this point, but couldn't bring myself to start in my excitement somehow. There are simply no words that seem good enough to start a letter about the way God's been working in me; it's all just too great for my human understanding.
So this afternoon I've decided to just sit down and simply piece together from my heart how I've felt and seen God's leading me toward the Baka people in Cameroon...without worrying about not being able to fully and properly articulate the wonders of God's working.
I suppose I'll start by saying that God placed a deep love and concern for the people of Africa in me since I was a child, from before I can even remember. I had never been to Africa before the Cameroon Vision Trip this spring though. I went on my first missions trip when I was 11 years old, and went on one or two trips all over the world each year following that. I love people, so I fell in love with the people everywhere I went, and talked about how I could go back and work in all the countries I'd been to, but I'd never felt specifically called to one place or one mission organization.
When I stepped out of the airport in Cameroon I stopped still, closed my eyes, and let out a deep, slow sigh; it was the most amazing feeling--like I could feel myself experiencing the realization, and saying "This is where I belong. This is what everything in my life has been leading up to." That first night I was up almost all night, sitting out on the porch at SIL reading Psalms, Job and Ephesians, praying, and worshiping God through tears of awe at His greatness and my low, sinful state. I was so full of awe that my heart couldn't stop praying silently those first couple days in Yaounde, Cameroon’s capital city. I was so overwhelmed by God's great grace--that He would choose to work in and through me.
I'll actually back up for a moment and share a little snippet about how God even brought me to be on the Vision Trip. It was only about a month before the trip that I found out it was happening and started to raise funds to go. I felt strongly that God wanted me to go, but knew there was no way I could raise all the money in that short time--especially with having to commit to buying plane tickets fairly soon after starting to raise money. I kept saying to God, "Well, I guess I'll know for sure if you want me to go, because there's no way the money will come in unless you bring it in miraculously." It was about two weeks before we would be leaving, and only a little less than $200 had come in for both me and Timothy. I was at my small group that Sunday night, and afterwards one of the ladies handed me an envelope. At the moment that I touched that envelope, peace rushed over me, and I just knew that all the money was going to come in, and Timothy and I were going to go on the Vision Trip. I knew that God had a purpose in sending us on the trip. As she walked away and I was left there holding the envelope I felt my eyes well up with tears. There could have just been $5 inside, it didn't matter, I knew that God was going to bring in the money. ...He did, and there are a lot more stories that I could tell about what God did even before we left for Cameroon. But anyways, back to where I was...
The first stop on the Vison Trip was Baka Land, where the Abbotts, Andertons, and Jenn Jesse were living and ministering. As we pulled up by the Abbott's house in Baka Land God filled me with a deep love for the Baka people, as well as the missionaries working among them. I'm not sure how to describe it, it was an instant connection for me--like family that I'd just never met in person but was somehow deeply connected to. That connection kept growing, and I fell in love with and became very burdened for the Baka people as I met them. What beautiful people!
One day while we were praying as a group in the Anderton's screened in porch I could feel God saying to me, "I love the Baka so much, you couldn't even physically contain my love for them. I'm going to give you just a tiny taste of my love for them..." I couldn't bear even that, and felt like I was going to break down or melt away under His love for them. My eyes began flowing with tears. I was a mess. God continued to reveal things like this to me in tangible ways, growing in me a love and burden for the Baka, and bringing me before Him on my face for the Baka many times. God also began to burden me for each of the missionaries who are working with the Baka, often reducing me to tears before Him, praying against the spiritual warfare I could feel was waging.
I was so full of love for the Baka, my heart couldn't even fully think about coming back to work among them, although I was filled with an overwhelming desire to do so. The day that we left Baka Land was so sad for me, because I couldn't bear to think that I might never again see these people that I loved so dearly.
I continued to desire to go back to Baka Land and pour my life into the people there throughout the rest of the trip...and when I got back to Canada that desire only grew.
I spent many hours praying and asking God if this could be His plan for me, hardly daring to hope that it was at first. But as it says in Psalm 37, “Delight thyself also in the Lord: and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart.”
What a beautiful thing it is to find your delight in God--and to find that in return He puts His desires in your heart!
I continue to pray for God’s will to be done as I pursue full-time ministry with World Team among the Baka people in Cameroon. I would greatly appreciate your prayers as well!