I write often about how important it is to stay connected with the real world. Sometimes you have to turn off the game systems, turn off the TV, and embrace life. I love adventure and I’ve had some experiences (especially with the Boy Scouts) that I will never forget. I’ve been down rivers in canoes, kayaks, and rafts. I’ve climbed hills and mountains. I’ve hiked for miles in secluded forests.
I’ve also been on some adventures that stretched my faith to the limit. I have been on short term missions trips to Argentina in 2001, and Senegal in 2011. These experiences were so incredible because you’re just putting yourself out there, into a situation that is completely out of your control. You’re just trusting God, your team, and your host organization that everything is going to be OK. That’s really what faith is – giving up the idea that you are in control and trusting someone else.
This November 1st – 8th I am headed back to Senegal on another trip. My church has a partnership with a village called N’Djemane (sounds like Jemawn) and we have been privileged to to serve and work with this community for the past several years. In the beginning, our leaders met with the village elders and those told us what their needs were. We were told they wanted clean water, medical care, and to have a church of their own. Since then we have provided a well, several medical clinics, and helped them to build a small church building.
However, the real highlight of the my first trip in 2011 was spending time with the people of the village. There must have been a hundred children there and they loved my finger puppets. I didn’t know more than a few words of their language – Wolof, but I was able to somehow communicate some simple shows that made them laugh and laugh. I kept the finger puppets in my pockets and the kids would come up to me and just tap my pocket, hoping that I would bring out the little toucan, mouse, and tiger. We also brought beach balls which were a huge hit. Those kids didn’t have electricity or any kind of electronics, but they were just so happy. You see, it’s not stuff that makes you happy.
I also connected with a young man named Thierno (sounds like Chair-no). We went through a “namesake” ceremony in which I took his name and he took mine. I am Thierno and he is Ted. I am looking forward to seeing him again and it will be great to be one of the namesakes who went back a second time to the village.
You can get more information about my trip by going to http://charlottetosenegal.com/ You’ll see my picture on the home page making a little girl smile. If you want to be a part and make a contribution you can go to http://charlottetosenegal.com/mission-trips/november-2012-ndjemane/ and find my picture about ten people down. There is a Paypal link.
This trip we will go back to the village and keep doing what we’ve been doing. Plus we’re going to lead a workshop with some of the Christian leaders on the book of Genesis. I’m leading one of the teachings on Abraham and his son Isaac. It should be very interesting and fun!
I encourage you to get out there in the world. Take a chance and try something new. Adventure can be found just down the street or on the other side of the world.