I woke up with the sun today, which was definitely the jet lag talking and not my natural pattern. :) But, I was so grateful that I got a full 8 hours of sleep. It was just what I needed and today I felt totally adjusted.
Since I was up and there was a gorgeous sunrise over the ocean coming through the window, I just had to get out there. I mean, I had almost been in Dar for 15 hours and I hadn’t set foot on the beach yet! So, the girls and I got up and set out for the beach. But first, we grabbed some coffee. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but once we were outside, we realized that it was already 85 degrees and drinking hot coffee was kind of like asking your body to sweat profusely.
We walked for a while and I even dipped my toes in the Indian Ocean. It was so warm and I can’t wait to suit up and go for a swim!
Then, we started prepping for the conference. We had lots of goody bags to assemble, lots of planning meetings, and just a lot of little touches to get ready. You know, one of my favorite things about Young Life is that things are really done with excellence. We try and show the extravagance and abundance of God’s love by offering the very best to people. It’s no different here in Africa. We are hoping to give these women a weekend full of extravagant encouragement and love, just like they give the kids they work with. What a privilege it is to do that!Shortly after lunch, THE WOMEN STARTED ARRIVING! Some of the ladies, ones that are on the Senior African Leadership Team (SALT) came in early to help us get everything ready. So, today I met Ubdi(from Somolia), Jokebed, Deborah and her adorable 9 mo. old son Fillibert(from Mali), Esther and Matilda (from Kenya), and Mwamini and her hubby, Benga, who’s helping with worship, from Democratic Republic of the Congo. We are just getting to know each other. But, just seeing them made me teary. I can hardly believe they are here! In a lot of cases, many obstacles had to be overcome just to get them here. But they are here and so excited!
We had a wonderful dinner all together and I had this moment where it felt like God said, “remember this.” So I took a little snapshot in my mind…since it would’ve been weird to pull out my camera at that point. :)
I’m missing my family pretty good at this point. Just missing sharing all of this with them and missing their tangible presence. I’m gonna need some serious hugs and kisses when I get back. But, I am absolutely where I am supposed to be. No doubt about it. And I know how special it is to have a husband and friends who said, “Go.” And to know without question that they are praying and loving my kids well. So, I can miss them, but I know I don’t have to worry. What a gift!
Keep praying! The Summit starts tomorrow and we are trying to figure out the balance of serving in a behind the scenes way that sets the women up to receive encouragement from each other first and therefore builds community. We are the hands and feet, the means by which this conference is happening...the African women are the face. It's THEIR conference. Make sense? Oh they need this so much...this time of fellowship with each other. This gathering of women leaders, women who follow Christ into dark places. Pray that it is all He desires it to be.