Thursday, April 24, 2008

God is God and I am not!

I love the fact that nothing surprises God, but sometimes he'll throw a curveball at us to see how we'll respond--will we trust Him or take things into our own hands? Just a few short days after my last post, I heard from AIM that there are no positions available on the media team. I'll be honest and tell you that I certainly was disappointed to learn that I won't be on the media team. Since November, that's what I had my heart set on. But last week was a reminder that when I start planning my life too much, God has to remind me of a very important fact: God is God and I am not! (Thanks Kate ;) I am naturally a planner, so this uncertainty is a struggle...but the Lord is stretching me which is what I need.

After my initial disappointment about the media team, I was so comforted by the fact that the Lord already has just the right spot and job for me in Africa. He has it under control. I need to let go and just pray during this time when AIM is communicating with people in Africa to find the right assignment for me. (I'd certainly appreciate your prayers as well!) I just want to be a blessing with my photography (and possibly public relations) when I'm in Africa.

My excitement for Africa has only grown...

Sunday, April 13, 2008


It's official! I have been accepted by AIM as a short-term missionary. I'm so incredibly excited, and I don't even think it has fully sunk in yet.

I am waiting to hear about my assignment, length of stay (hopefully close to a year!), destination, etc. I'll be honest; by nature, I'm a planner. So it's incredibly difficult waiting to find out these details. Yet it's a trust-thing....I know God will not fail me, and He has all of this in His hands. In Acts, He set aside Barnabas and Saul to do His work, and they had to take a step of faith--not knowing where they were going. My friend, Sarah, encouraged me with that passage last week and it was incredibly uplifting. [Acts 12:25; Acts 13: 1-3]

Sometimes this thought pops into my head: "Ashley, what are you getting yourself into? Are you sure you can do this?" I know I can do it, but only because this is where the Lord is leading. I would be foolish to think I can go to Africa and do it on my own. There is no way. I certainly have fears, starting with "What will I eat?" I'm the girl who's not a big fan of dark chicken! :/ I'm sure I'll be eating a lot of chicken over there, probably freshly-prepared chicken if you know what I mean....

Then of course, the diseases in Africa. The water. Random scary animals/critters (bugs and Ashley don't get along well ;) Being without friends or family for a number of months. The list could go on.

But here's why I'm going....
I have one life to live. (Read John Piper's "Don't Waste Your Life, and you will see where I'm coming from." I have this burning passion in my heart to go to Africa and photograph the children, the adults, and the environment. I want to show you all the despair--but more importantly the
hope--which Africa holds. I want you to see the eyes of the precious children and deep into their souls; though they have nothing, they have such faith and love. They know nothing differently. So many of them are content and do not have a complaining spirit which I, as a spoiled American, sometimes have. I am longing to worship the Lord in an African church, with people who look and speak differently than myself yet love the same Savior.

Anyway, my point is: I will never have a second chance to re-live this life. Not even a second chance to re-live yesterday. I desire to step out of my comfort zone and use photography (a gift/passion that God has given me) in the beautiful land called Africa.

Thank you to everyone who has been praying for me, as I begin this journey towards Africa.
Please pray for endurance; I have several more weeks of school and then I will be a college graduate. After that, I can focus on my journey towards Africa. I need prayer to stay close to the Lord and not let "busyness" be an excuse.

Saturday, March 22, 2008


“Perfect. I have some time before class to take a power nap in the library,” I thought as I briskly walked from the dining hall towards the library one afternoon last November in Virginia. Little did I know that I was about to have an incredibly significant conversation.

Let’s just say I did not get a nap that day, but I sure did get an adrenaline rush. As I rounded a corner, I saw a random booth and a big sign that said “Africa.” How could that NOT catch my eye? I’ve been dreaming of spending time in Africa for MONTHS now. I almost kept going past the booth, but something told me to stop. I stopped in my tracks and chatted with Mr. Steve Hill, who told me he was a representative with Africa Inland Mission (AIM) and gave me some materials to look at. As we kept talking, I realized this was a God-thing…no other way to describe it. Mr. Hill and I discovered: his family is living in Lancaster, PA (which is where I’m from.) Not only that, but they were currently living/working at the SAME camp where I worked for a week last summer. Not only THAT, but we discovered his family recently began attending the church where I spent about 11 years of my life.

I literally had to blink back tears, because I could just see God’s hands in this conversation (it’s hard to explain.) I remember Mr. Hill saying, “I don’t know what God is doing! I’m almost afraid to keep talking to you,” as we kept discovering those neat things!

To make a very long story short, I kept in touch with Mr. Hill’s family and spent the afternoon visiting them about 2 months later when I was in PA for Christmas break. We talked about AIM, and I drove away encouraged and even more excited about the possibility of Africa.

Since then, I’ve been emailing Kate, an awesome girl from D.C. She and I are BOTH applying for AIM’s media team. Mr. Hill gave her my email address, and we’ve had fun getting to know each other via email. Last weekend, we were (oddly enough) both in Lancaster so we met in person. We instantly hit it off (we talked non-stop for 3 hours in Panera!) We’re both hoping/praying that we will both end up in Africa together!

There’s just something about AIM’s ministry in Africa that really grabbed my attention and my heart. Their aim is to glorify God….and they send missionaries over there to teach the Africans. That way, when the missionary has to leave, the Africans are equipped to carry on the job (whether it’s a pastor, doctor, etc.) I sent in my 10 page application Feb. 14 and the following week I interviewed with Mr. Hill when he was at LU. Now is the hard part…..waiting. I’ve never been good at waiting : ) I will hopefully find out a “yes” or “no” from AIM in two days. I’m nervous, anxious, and excited all at the same time.
I am positive the Lord is leading me to Africa, but I’m waiting on the exact organization and timing. I’m just so grateful He’s writing the next chapter of my story….