Sunday, June 11, 2006

I’m leaving in 5 days!

The LORD is my strength and my shield;
my heart trusts in him, and I am helped.
My heart leaps for joy
and I will give thanks to him in song.
- Psalm 28:7

I rejoice in the Lord because he has been good to me. I am in such a different place than I was the last time I was preparing to leave for Africa. I was filled with fear and uncertainty, battered about by the enemy in a spiritual battle. Now, I am filled with strength and excitement, anticipation and joy. God is really working in my, strengthening me and growing me. He is releasing me from my fears - fears of uncertainty, fears of not being good enough - and giving me new confidence and power.

It’s been an interesting couple weeks. We had a wonderful time with family and friends at our farewell party. Thank you to all those who were able to come. And we missed the rest of you. Here are some pictures.

Also in the last two weeks, my brother enlisted in the army, a friend’s dad passed away and we found out that a family friend we thought was dead is actually alive. (You may have seen that one in the news. The original blog had links to two articles and to the family's blog, but I don't know how to do that here.)

I’ve definitely hit crunch time in my preparations to leave. I’m almost finished with my spring semester research project. I’m getting closer to getting the details together for my research in Kenya and I have a VERY long packing list going on the computer. My brain and typing fingers have kicked into high gear. Keep praying, though, that I’ll be able to get it all done and still make it onto the plane in one piece and with everything I need!

I realized last week that a lot of the preparations and details I was stressing about related to my research in Kenya. When I leave on Friday, I get to go to Tanzania and just learn. All I have to do is go to class, study and do whatever they have planned. I don’t have to make any decisions. I don’t have to plan anything. What a relief. And, we’re going to visit some really cool places! I haven’t been a tourist much in East Africa so it should be fun.

During the swahili program in Tanzania, we’ll be spending the weekends with a host family. I found out a little more about my family last week. They are a Muslim family with three kids - ages 12, 8 and 7. I was really hoping for a family with kids to play with, so this is great.

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