Noisy Malawi nights

I woke up because there were a million dogs barking outside. There’s always that one that starts, and then before you know it every dog in the area is howling. I was trying so hard to fall back asleep, and was thinking about how I was ready to kill those dogs if I could. But then I also remembered that I had 4 cups of coffee today and that was probably the main reason why I was still wide awake. So I take back my comment about wanting to kill the dogs.

I’m in Malawi, and have been here for a couple of days now. I’ve been here with my directors, working alongside the VOH Malawi directors. The days have been long and busy, hence the 4 cups of coffee. It’s turning into a nasty cycle because I can’t sleep at night, and then I need coffee (I hate saying that I need coffee but it’s what it is this week) to function, but then I drink too much and the cycle continues. There has been so much on my mind this week in terms of work – there are tons of great things happening with Villages of Hope, and the days have been busy, but they have been so great! Working for the VOH has brought be so much joy. I’m convinced that my director’s think I’m a little bit nuts because I get excited over the littlest of things. Things such as being organized. The thought of being organized and having charts makes me so excited. I even said to my director today “wow, I love how you organized your folders” when I saw the way her computer was set up. Hello, am I going crazy?

Lately, I have been thinking about how God calls and equips His people. I’ve been thinking about how He has created us all with our little quirks and niches that make us unique. Never in a million years would I have ever imagined myself doing work that involves audits, finances, initiatives, and using Excel everyday – that’s just so not me. However, God has been stretching me this year. He has been stretching me to think outside that “teacher” box where often I would think that that was all I was capable of doing: teaching little kids, doing arts and crafts, and reading stories. Don’t get me wrong – there is nothing wrong with that, and I think teaching is a noble profession, but in the back of my mind I always thought that teaching little kids was all that I could do – that I had kind of reached my limit. Since graduating from teachers college I never felt totally content teaching. I loved education and working with kids, but the thought of standing up in front of a class of 20 kids and teaching them geometry didn’t sit well with me. I wanted to be involved with an organization that had many facets to it – I wanted to be a teacher, but not in the typical ‘working in an elementary school’ sense. There was always this part of me that hoped that God was preparing me for something a little more, and now that I am here with VOH I know that this has been what He’s been preparing me for. I was thinking about how even though this position looks and sounds different then teaching at a school, there have been many things that are closely linked, or many things that I’ve learned while being a teacher that have helped me with this position: the type of people I have had the pleasure (err…frustration) to work with over the years, the way I have learned to organize and manage my time, the different types of schools and centers that I’ve worked for (from inner city centers to private schools) and the list can keep going. All this to say that since landing in Africa I am reminded almost daily that God has called and equipped me to fill this position, and it was in the works long ago – long before Villages of Hope was a thought in my mind. I mess up a lot, and He helps me a lot, and I’m learning a ton. I’ve been so stretched these past 3 months – honestly more that I have been in a very long time – and I’m loving it and so thankful that He has brought me here at this time.

Be ready for God to use you wherever He has called you to. To you, it may look mundane and maybe even a little boring – but you have been placed there for a purpose. Don’t be discouraged because you can only see this moment, be encouraged that God knows how this current moment works together with the big picture. Make the most of it, commit to it, work hard, keep your eyes on Him and He will never disappoint.

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