I've known since the time we worked together at camp that Katy longed to live in Africa, and this past year that dream has became a reality. It's crazy to think that God sometimes gives us the desires of our hearts so that one day He might take us to where he needs us to be to do His work and to glorify Him.
Katy and her husband, Kahler, moved to Zambia when Kahler accepted a position with an HIV research laboratory in Lusaka. Throughout their journey in Africa, I have loved reading Katy's blog. She's always got something insightful to say, humorous to tell or challenging to think about. I'm so thankful that Katy has blogged during this time because it has given me, as well as many others the opportunity to step into her life in Zambia. Her words helped me prepare for my time in Kenya and encouraged me during my stay here.
Life in Africa is funny, and usually nothing like you think it will be. You see strange (really strange) things everyday--things that when you see, you say to your mzungu (white) friend 'Only in Africa!' I loved that Katy and I could share in what it means to live in Africa together. Being the odd man out in a culture and society that is so different than the one we grew up in provides plenty of entertaining, humorous and strange moments. It's hard to explain how things are here and I can't tell you how much I enjoyed chatting with someone who knew exactly what I was talking about when I mentioned African feet, ridiculous marriage proposals and digressing English skills. There are so many topics of conversations that can come up among people that have lived here. One night, the four of us spent an hour talking about things we missed about America, which are the things in life we will probably never again take for granted. Things like hot water, real mattresses, a car, consistent electricity, malaria-free mosquitos, and the list goes on.
One thing I've learned over the last few months is that the life I've been blessed to live has been one of luxury. Now, from an American's perspective my life has been average, or maybe even a little above average, but nothing grandeur. Coming to Africa my life has been simplified to say the least. Don't get me wrong, my living situation here and my community is better than anything most Africans could ever imagine. The simple fact that I have a solid shelter, fresh water and electricity puts me ahead of nearly everyone I spend my time ministering to each day. But my home here isn't like my home in Texas and I don't have all the things I have back in the states. It's taught me so much about how blessed I am. I've spent a lifetime taking things for granted that a majority of people on this continent don't even know exists. Living here has certainly been a wake up call-- making me appreciative for what I have, and at the same time making me realize that I don't really need those things. I convince myself that I do, but really I don't and living here has made me sure of that. I pray that I can take this mentality home with me. That I won't get wrapped up in the American Dream, but that I will hold fast to God's Dream. I've learned to live without so many things considered 'necessary' in America, which has made me realize that living simply on the things I need is good. Really good. I don't want to give myself to the things of this world, I want to give myself entirely to God. He deserves all that I have to offer and not just the things I have left to give him after I've exhausted my resources, my time and my energy on myself. So effortlessly I can fill myself up with other things, ultimately leaving little room for God in my life. I don't want to live that kind of life, but stepping away from that takes discipline. It takes choosing to move away from the way I've done things and fighting to pursue Christ in a world that tells me to pursue the selfish desires of my heart. I know this will be a battle I will face for the rest of my life, but I pray that I'll take home everything I've learned here and remember it daily- living only on the things I need, giving all I have to God, and not just giving away my spare time or resources.
big cities in Africa have things like shopping malls and restaurants, but they also have so much poverty
women selling sugar cane on the side of the road
chatting on the front porch
ZEHRP- Kahler and Jake's HIV research laboratory
ohhh the silly English saying written on African walls
the islamic mosque in katy's neighborhood
watermelon! yes, we did eat an ENTIRE watermelon by ourselves one afternoon :)
a REAL latte- with caramel and all! (not something you can find in kitale!)
saying farewell to Katy- next time I'll see you in TEXAS!