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.