“The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble, they will never fall for the Lord holds them by the hand.” Psalms 37: 23-24
With only one week remaining before we head on this journey to the other side of the planet, I find myself still asking the question, ”Why Africa?” One would think this question would be answered by now, but I cannot honestly say it is.
Naturally, when I envisioned my first trip outside of the United States, I saw blue waters surrounding my bride and me on a Caribbean island or my kids bouncing around with some kangaroos on the Australian Outback. I had dreams of indulging in every comfort and luxury I felt deserved for my years of waiting and working hard. Finally, I get the opportunity to go to……….(wait for it)…(drum roll please)…Rwanda!?!
About 10 years ago, I heard of this African country from the award-winning movie Hotel Rwanda. The movie documents the mass genocide that took place in 1994 where tragically between 500,000 – 1,000,000 people lost their lives. Although I don’t remember much about the movie, I just remember feeling really uncomfortable.
Fast forward to Spring 2015. That is when I first learned about this group of men stepping out on faith to build gardens thousands of miles away from their Central Texas families. The thought of Hotel Rwanda, mosquitos the size of Mississippi, blistering temperatures, miles away from my wife/kids and performing manual labor while on my “vacation” from my real job wasn’t my idea of fun. But I have been living long enough to know that God is God and my plan is not always His plan. That being said, guess who trumps this guy? Yeah, God does!
I already know this trip is going to be life changing. There is going to be an encounter with God that has never happened before; that makes the long trek across the globe, fighting monster mosquitos and experiencing the unknown all worth it.
This trip, much like watching Hotel Rwanda almost 10 years ago, is sure to take me out of my comfort zone but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It may not be the honeymoon-style getaway I would have envisioned or the southern-style easy living I’d like to enjoy day-by-day. But just as God has made it clear he called my heart to this mission and He, through many faithful donors, allowed this trip to be FULLY FUNDED, I believe God and all His goodness will grow our hearts and the gardens to flourish beyond our wildest dreams.
So, for that I ask the question, “Why not Africa?
Written by E.J. Patterson, KGP Team Member
Learn more about E.J. and the rest of the team on our Meet the Team page!