For a long time I've been thinking about writing this blog post. Because of the more personal nature of some of the information I have hesitated putting it out for all to see. Especially since the personal matters are not my own to share. But still, I've felt like there was something important for you to know in hearing their stories, and so I'm choosing to write this. With respect for my teammates I am leaving the individuals names out of this post.
It has now been a little more than two months that this team has been living together in community, and in that time we have learned a lot about each other's lives. What I'm about to tell you is a story, not of failures, but of God's grace. These are not our stories, but they are all a part of God's story. I am blessed to be serving alongside these 12 other individuals and I'm thankful each day for the way that God has knit us together as family. What has given me the courage to finally sit down and put my thoughts on this page? Well, that's easy. This past weekend I got malaria. Yup. Malaria. The parasite that mosquitoes carry. The one that infects your blood stream and that makes you feel absolutely miserable. The parasite that is not only treatable, but it is also preventable, and still thousands will die each day all over the world because of it. (A statistic that needs to change. Remember, its PREVENTABLE) Thankfully, we caught it quickly and it was handled with great care by those responsible for my team. I'm happy to report that I am on the mend.
Having malaria in a third world country has further opened my eyes to a few things about this amazing community I find myself living in. So here's the thing, I didn't just get malaria in a third world country. I got malaria on the one weekend my team chose to live in the village, eliminating from our lives even more conveniences than we already had by coming to Africa. Now not only were we living without air conditioning and sometimes without electricity, we were living in mud huts, without running water, zero electricity, and, my personal favorite, squatty potties. Don't get me wrong, this experience was an amazing opportunity to truly see how the "other half" lives. But malaria brought a whole new stuggle to the forefront, a struggle of being completely reliant on someone other than myself. This is where I will begin...
In this eye opening weekend of adventure I was loaned clothing, shoes, pillows, soap, and many more items without any hesitation from my team members. Many of them sacrificed sleep to sit up with me at my lowest points, to go outside in the pitch black night when I needed to get out of the stuffy hut for some cool night air, and even to make the trek with me in the early morning hours to the squatty. Even since returning to Alpha, they have not once neglected to offer to get my bags or to make me a plate of potatoes for dinner. All of these things they have done without grumbling or complaining (Phillipians 2:14).
Now I want to tell you a few things about this group of people. The lives of these individuals are pretty amazing and I hope that hearing where they come from is blessing to you and your situation. On my team there is someone who survived leukemia, someone who was healed of a brain tumor, two individuals who have suffered with eating disorders, others who have dealt with doubts about believing in God, there are members from broken homes, and there are those who have lost parents to cancer. They aren't perfect people. They've been through their ups and downs. Some on this team have spent time not knowing their worth and looking for it in all of the wrong places. Still, God has redeemed every situation in their lives and He continues to work in and through them.
I don't know what you are going through today. Cancer in your body, cancer in a loved one, the loss of someone close to you, doubts, or even malaria, but I do know a Savior who loves you enough to come and give His life on a cross for you. If that sounds to difficult to imagine, you're not alone. I don't really understand it either. The part that I don't understand, that's called love. It's an unconditional love that I have a hard time comprehending because it isn't found in any place on this earth. Jesus is more than faithful and He is more than able to heal, to provide, to be patient with your doubts, and more than He is able to do those things, He desires to do those things for you. He created you. He designed you. When He thought about you before you were born, He thought of a purpose for your life. His thoughts of you gave Him joy and so He created you. Then I believe He saw that "it was good."
In the past week I have relied on my teammates. More than them, I have relied on God. And I haven't been disappointed. He is my healer and my provider. He has surrounded me with 12 other amazing people and I am so very thankful for them. God is good!
Blessings to you and yours!