Today I was supposed to be sitting side-by-sweaty-side with a Burkinabe woman, admiring the living colors of Africa that adorned her dress. I was supposed to be worshipping one hand raised to the Lord, the other occupied with 3 little dark skinned hands, fingers grasping for my attention. I was supposed to be dancing through the Church in congo lines of believers and praising the Father in French. I was supposed to get in a van and head hours away from any civilization to a people group that’s yet to be reached. I was supposed to be getting my hands filthy in the African red clay, building a “Church” in a village that’s never had a place to worship. I was supposed to be sleeping under the incomparable stars as animals sang in the night–restless but renewed. I was supposed to be seeing my 2 dearly beloved sponsored girls, celebrating their birthdays and sharing about life. I was supposed to be in Africa today.
Instead I’m sitting on our cozy couch, curled up under the thickest of blankets, hiding from the start of winter. Instead I’m eating granola bars all day because we cleaned out all the food in our house and I’m too sad to make a grocery list. Instead I’m sitting here, wishing I was some place else.
The day started out like any other, I should have known it was coming. We woke up, made breakfast, finished our last minute packing, cleaning and list making as we waited for 2 of our teammates to show up at our apartment. Nick checked the news as usual and I knew when I saw his face something wasn’t right.
Of all days.
The news was coming into us from everywhere. I recognized the streets they were burning vehicles on, the statues they were knocking over, the parliament building on fire. More than fear for our trip my heart ached for the Burkinabe people, they have lived in a corrupt world for far too long and I was truly proud to see them stand up for themselves and fight on their behalf.
(If you didn’t read the articles—President Blaise Compore has been in office for the absurd amount of 25 years and decided that he wanted to change the constitution again so he could stay in office for many more years to come–Compore was a very corrupt President hence the riots, and overthrow of the government.)
It still had not totally phased me that there was a Coup d’etat happening in the tiny country we were flying to that day (I mean but for real how many people have ever heard of Burkina Faso more or less traveled there). It was rumored that the airport had shut down, but Air France had given us nothing, so we kept on heading that way.
Our parents were concerned, our co-workers calling with news updates, it seemed as if those around us were worrying more than we were.
Working for a Missions Organization we had to ask ourselves, “what if this was one of our World Race teams, would we send them into such disaster at a time like this?” (the answer is NO, we would re-route them immediately) We quickly realized it was only right to understand our situation under the same terms.
It wasn’t until we got near the Atlanta airport that we got word from the Travel Agency; flights had not been cancelled but they advised against travel. Our trip leader decided to attempt to change the tickets a day in order to give the country a little time to settle down (Clearly we still weren’t concerned and believed the rioting, looting, and uprise would end within 24hrs).
Every door was shutting.
There were NO flights available to Paris, which was our gateway to Burkina. We had no other option and decided that this was the confirmation we needed to postpone the trip.
It was tough news to give and hard news to get. We drove home practically silent.
What do you do when your plans all come crashing down, when everything you expect to happen fall apart?
We all grabbed our bags and went our separate ways.
The rest of the weekend was a cycle of sadness. We ate granola bars. I cried. We played board games. We stayed in our pajamas all day. I unpacked our just packed bags. I avoided grocery shopping. I walked around our apartment depressed.
Nick intervened (thank you Jesus for a husband who pulls me out the slumps).
“Hey, Has the Father forsaken us? His ways are above our ways, we know that. Things didn’t work out how we planned and that’s tough but the things we wanted to see and hear from the Father in Africa are still His to give to us now. What if we take the next 10 days to be “missions trip intentional” right here, at work, in Gainesville. Isn’t that what He wanted for this time anyways? For us to seek Him and live out love?”
He’s always right, that Husband of mine.
The trip being cancelled was NOT in my plans. I’m not sitting in Africa because I’m right where I’m supposed to be. Here. Now. For reasons I don’t understand.
But I’m thankful. Excited to celebrate the upcoming marriage of my little sister through showers and bachelorette’s I was going to miss otherwise. Happy to have 2 more weeks in an office of people I love and will miss dearly when we move. Grateful for an extra 10 days to prepare for our 6 week trip through Asia and eager for what He has for us now and here.
I am where I’m supposed to be but Africa, I’ll be back for you.
God’s ways are mysterious and I think I quite like them that way.