So, I am excited to tell you that I GET TO COME BACK!!!
Hopefully the beginning of next year sometime. I will need to fundraise before I can return.
I leave here November 9th, so I will be home for Thanksgiving and Christmas! I wasn't looking forward to coming home, at all, because it meant I had to leave. But now I'm coming back! (I'm really dreading saying goodbye to my roommate and now sister, Alyssa...not thinking about that.) So I'm pretty stoked about seeing my family soon. Not so happy about the winter weather back in Ohio. It's just starting to be summer here!
For how long?
Right now, it is a one year commitment. I was desiring two, but I can see the wisdom in one year (for both parties). In a year they told me we will reevaluate. So, there is certainly a chance that I could stay longer than a year, depending on how things work out (and whether or not I decide I desperately need to go somewhere else, but I'm not so sure about that....I'd have a hard time picking Bulgaria or India over here, now that I've put down some roots).
Because I've made family here. Because there are so many chances to work in orphan care. Because although I'm not always the best at determining this, I think it's God's will. (That I was here this year was OBVIOUSLY God's will, it was SO random and ridiculous how I ended up here.) Because I love it here? Because my passion is orphan care - hands on - and I have so much direction here, whereas I was kind of aimless at home.
(What, did you think I was staying for the chicken feet and mopani worms? =) Maybe someday I will get brave enough to try them.)
Fundraising - how much will I need, and what are my expenses?
Ehhhh....I'm not sure yet. We are going to sit down and have this conversation soon. Rent is $250 or so a month. I also pay for internet, food (the food prices here are cheaper than home, I think), and other extra things that I need. I will be on my dad's health insurance for the next year - after that, I will need to buy my own if I want to be allowed to stay in the country. (Thankfully it seems to be cheaper here than at home.) I am looking at buying a (used) car, so that will include all the expenses that come along with it - insurance, gas/petrol (you think prices are bad at home? you should check it out here!), maintenance, etc. (I am thinking about selling my car at home to help pay for one here.) Those are the basic ongoing expenses of life. I will also be buying a plane ticket, and paying the numerous fees that go along with applying for a volunteer visa. I don't have a set goal yet, but I will soon.
I will be opening up my crochet business, Happy Heads Helping Hearts, as soon as I get home to help raise money. I'm not sure I can crochet enough hats to buy a car, but with the exchange rate, every dollar goes quite a ways. =) I will be taking pre-orders in a few weeks so I can hit the ground running.
- We are still having trouble with our screening of a house mom. Now they are saying they don't want to screen single ladies at all, even South Africans, even though single moms can adopt and foster without a problem. We currently can't take in any more babies and have to keep turning them away, which is really hard.
- Our Gospel Community has been doing evangelism on Mondays. This prayer request is twofold - for the people we speak to, and for me (the rest of us too, but I am the one who is absolutely the most terrified, hands down).
My thoughts are not very cohesive as it is, and even less so when I walk up to a stranger on the street. Evangelism is probably one of my worst fears, although I don't lie awake dreading it like I did at the beginning of the year...is that progress? I'm learning to love the Gospel deeply. I'm witnessing to my AWANA kids. (Not very effectively - half of them run around in circles while I talk, and the other half say things like, "But God will forgive you, because He knows you're trying," or "Surprise hit me! Make her stop!") But walking up to random strangers still terrifies me. The culture of evangelism at Living Hope has helped normalize it a little for me, and the culture of Africa is far more accepting of this sort of thing than American culture. Please, just pray for me! I am definitely the weakest link. We go out at 4:30 on Mondays - 10:30 AM back home in Ohio (EST). If you want to pray for us then (or any time!) I would really love it. I would also really love to know you are doing it. Please?
- That God will help me to trust him with this next step of coming back. I like being in control of my future, and although knowing a year ahead of time is great, and way farther than I knew a month ago, I tend to skip forward and say, "What about after that?" I'm also nervous about leaving my grandma again - she's really old (although still alive and kicking...) For someone like me, there are infinitely more things to worry about, as well...many of which are ridiculous.
- Fundraising makes me itch.
- That applying for a visa goes down without much trouble.
- Homesickness - I foresee having some of this.
- Saying goodbye to some of the people here (fellow interns, etc.) who won't be here next year.
- When I go home, I need to learn to drive stick shift. Probably in the snow and ice. Please pray I don't die or wreck the car and that I get really good at it before I come back here with all the super aggressive African driving!