Well I made it to New York yesterday and had orientation all day today. I got to meet the two girls I will be traveling to Kampala with (they will be working with handicapped and special needs children at a different place then I am) as well as 3 couples who will be leaving soon for long-term assignments in Africa. The whole experience has felt very surreal thus far and I'm sure that will probably continue for a while.
During our tour yesterday we were given a brief history of the Africa Inland Mission and how they came to be. It was started in 1895 when six missionaries came here with a dream that all of Africa would be reached for Christ. Of those 6, five were killed by various diseases and the remaining survivor returned to England quite shaken. It was at that time the committee that had commissioned the mission had to decide if they were going to continue sending people out or if they were going to abandon the whole project. After much debate, a board member stood up and said "Gentlemen, death always precedes life." The rest, they say, is history. Today AIM has over 1000 missionaries in the field working in over 20 countries to create Christ-centered churches for all African peoples.
I love that phrase "Death always precedes life". It has stuck in my mind since I heard it yesterday. It is such a great reminder on so many levels. I first imagine how the original twelve must have felt right after Jesus died. Bewildered, confused, lost, and hopeless because they didn't realize yet that He is risen! They did not see at that time that Jesus had to die in order to save us, in order to give us abundant life through Him. On a more personal level; I need to be reminded to die to my comforts, to being in control, to the idea of security. I need to die to letting fear win, to complaining, to thinking I can do everything on my own. I need to surrender relying only on my own strength, to being selfish, to being unforgiving. Paul says that "I have been crucified with Christ, and no longer live but Christ lives in me" (Galatians 2:20) It is the dying to our sinful nature, our old ways, that we truly find life and fullness in God. Death always precedes life. It is hard to let go, to allow things to die. My humanity cries out for security, for comfort, for love but it is a death to look for those apart from God. When we allow Him to rid our lives of those things that actually kill us, He restores us, lifts us up, and breathes abundant and eternal life back into us, and we live with Him. Death always precedes life.
Thank you all so much for the encouragement and support and prayers! I am so blessed and I feel very loved. I will write again as soon as I get to Entebee and figure out how to work their internet.
Love you all! Keep praying!