Loved, free, and worth it.

Two days left in Africa, and we are continuing to see God work in big ways. As we debrief, God allows us to see what seasons He has walked us through this summer. Here's a bit of what J2013 intern, Margot Osborne, has been learning this summer.

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It’d be easy to sit here and tell you all about Africa and the magic that is found in this incredible place.   I could tell you about the stunningly beautiful landscape, the mountains and plains that stretch for miles, or even about the precious children we have met in the schools. But that’s just the icing on the cake that is this summer.  The way that I have seen the Lord move and work is unlike any other time in my life.  God has been breaking, redeeming, loving, and pursuing me in a way that is undeniable and humbling beyond belief.  Galatians 5:1 says, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free, so stand firm and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”  The theme of the summer has been freedom—freedom from fear, the need to be perfect, doubt, unworthiness.  When Jesus said, “it is finished,” he meant just that. Fear is finished. Doubt is finished. Unworthiness is finished.  Why would I continue to live in slavery when Christ died so that I may experience true freedom?

The first time I experienced true freedom was actually in-between our first and second communities.  I had wrestled, through out all of our first community, with the concept of grace, and feeling very far from the Lord.  During debrief in Nairobi, we watched an Andy Stanley series called “Simple”.  The idea is that we first must follow Jesus, then believe what He says, and then obey.  God showed me that I was trying to believe what He was saying before I was even truly following Him.  I needed to take a step back and let myself be led by the Lord.  Cody asked us if we would be willing to just sit and be with Jesus, without feeling the need to say anything.  That is when I realized that instead of questioning everything—why he felt so far, why I was wrestling, why I was frustrated—I needed to just sit and be with Jesus.  Since that time, the Lord has been so faithful to reveal Himself in the coolest ways: in the night sky filled with the brightest stars I’ve ever seen, in the smile of an orphan I got to hold and pray over for a week, in working alongside an African brother or sister in their shamba, and in sharing a laugh with teammates.

Though I know my God is powerful enough to have done the same work in me just as easily at home as here, I am beyond grateful that He chose to send me halfway across the globe to do so.  And even though it would be easy to make this summer all about Africa and the adventures encountered here, the God I experienced here is the same one I talk to as I make my way across campus on the way to class.  He is mighty to save and desperately loves and pursues His children with a fierceness that I am just now beginning to realize.  As our time in East Africa quickly comes to a close, my initial reaction is to be sad and dread the trek home.  But I know that God brought me to Africa for eight weeks and not a day more for a reason.  He needs me to do His will at home, so even though it is difficult to say goodbye, it is incredibly bittersweet.  I am so thankful that I serve a living, moving, and loving Father who is willing to send His child 8,000+ miles away just to say, “you are loved, you are free, you are worth it”.

-Margot