Imagine you had a 15 year old daughter. And imagine, one day, that your daughter announced out of the blue, that she wanted to go to Africa to work in an orphanage. And imagine, a few years later, that her desire was soon to come true. That is where I am today.
Our daughter Kyla has been on two short term Missions trips with our church to Mexico. The first time, she went with her mom. The second time – last year – she went by herself with our church team. She loved both experiences and her view of the world was altered by both trips.
After her first Mission trip, she announced to her mother and I that one day, she wanted to go to Africa and work there are a missionary intern. My wife's sister and brother-in-law, Dan and Bethany Tanner, started an orphanage ministry called Mavuno Village a few years back in Tanzania, East Africa. (www.mavunovillage.org) The AIDS crisis is epidemic in Tanzania, leaving many children without parents. In many cases, extended families take these children in, but even that has its limits. The ministry of Mavuno Village is to care for and raise African children to know and love God as well as giving them skills that will allow them to succeed in the future. Mavuno uses a family-style program in which children live in family units led by godly, African parents.
Kyla would be working at Mavuno as a missionary intern for about 8 months. As an intern, she hopes to put her skills to work to enhance the ministry of Mavuno. These include sign-language, sewing and any other place she help fulfill the mission of Mavuno Village. Over the past year, she has worked very hard to get ahead in her school work and now is on track to finish her senior year this summer. The plan is for her to to leave in September and spend what would be her senior year of high school serving the Lord in Africa.
So – how do I feel about all this? Well, I am proud of my daughter. She has worked and is working hard at school. I am glad she feels the prompting to use her abilities to serve the Lord in Africa. And I look forward to how God is going to shape her life for the future as a result of this experience.
Yet there is also something daunting about knowing that this daughter of yours – the one you saw born, the one you held in your arms, the one you played with on the floor – is old enough and mature enough to be overseas for 8 months as a missionary. It is not about me being old. Rather it is about the ever shrinking window we have with our kids. Every parents needs something to refocus and recharge them occasionally – I guess this is mine.
|Sunset on Lake Victoria|
We invite you to follow Kyla on her adventure. She has just started raising funds – her first fund-raiser will be the food stand at our church's AWANA Grand Prix this Saturday. We have prayer card and an informational brochure designed. She has started a blog at www.kylasafricanadventure.blogspot.com, although I do not know if she has posted anything there yet. And she is always in need of your prayers – both as she prepares to go and as she is in Africa. And I know, as one of her parents, I would covet your prayers for her as well.