Chasing the Light: Botswana, Africa

IMG_1660Nope, there’s no need to refresh your webpage the title of this post is absolutely correct. Some of you may be wondering why I’ve been gone for over a month. I’m so sorry for that, but here’s a nice large update on my life over the last month. Yes, as you can tell from the title I ventured to Gaborone, Botswana Africa with some amazing teammates all to change that nation as a whole. My team and I got the chance to see our Father work wonders in us and through us like never before. We saw people choose to join our team, and continue in fighting for others to join our team to change the world for all eternity. We got to venture onto two college campuses and talk to students and hear their thoughts on life, and really give them their chance to be heard. We got to go into an impoverished neighborhood and play with children and simply love them, with a love that they don’t often experience. All in all we saw and caused change. It was an amazingly healing, and freeing experience.

I was approached about this trip back in December when my friend Adam told me that he had been asked to lead a team to Botswana. As a girl who loves the world I knew I needed to begin talking to my father about going to this nation and help in it’s restoration. I knew without a doubt that I was being called to this place. I felt the longing in my heart for something more, something deeper. I knew it was time for me to head overseas again, and I wasn’t going to fight my Father on His callings!

So I began the process of sending out support letters and working with my team to begin our process of heading over to this nation that was made for us. The team quickly came together and we began meeting together and preparing the trip. Everything really just fell into place and it was begin made more and more clear that we were destined for this place. So on a cold Friday morning we boarded our plane, and come late Saturday night after three long and interesting flights, and being completely exhausted we landed in Gaborone, Botswana. The American interns that are currently in the country greeted us with open hearts and took us to our lodge where we’d be staying. They were so gracious and loving towards us, and it was so refreshing to see a friendly and loving face after all that traveling. The next morning we headed to a meeting where we were once again welcomed in my many nationals. They served us and showed us a beautiful side to this nation. After that the American interns took us out to lunch a Sanita’s Tea Garden. It was the most beautiful little place I had ever seen. With a shop and great food.

IMG_1762 IMG_1747 IMG_1741 IMG_1744 IMG_1749This place was so colorful and fun, definitely a highlight of the trip. So naturally we decided to act like moneys and tried climbing on tress!IMG_1788 IMG_1794 IMG_1798 IMG_1803Getting to relax as a team, and connect with old friends was definitely a highlight. This is Joy and Rachel. Joy mentored Rachel while she was in college. Rachel is currently an international intern in Botswana with our company.IMG_1775

Aren’t they just so stinking cute. Needless to say we as a team thoroughly enjoyed this amazing restaurant and it was a great way to begin our time in Botswana!

IMG_1784 IMG_1748 IMG_1760Another place that we got to go that totally hit all of us in different and exciting ways was the neighborhood known as Ol’ Naladie. This place was near one of the Universities that we worked at during the week. It was a pretty simple but hectic time all at the same time. It was a time that we got to love others but at the same time feel a sense of love and appreciation like never before! Seriously take a look at the pictures below and I guarantee you, you’ll feel what we felt, and see how it is exactly the same love that our Father has for us!IMG_1820 IMG_1822

These beautiful babies came running after our car the second we pulls into the neighborhood, it was so exhilarating!IMG_1830 IMG_1835 IMG_1840 IMG_1882 IMG_1875 IMG_1870 IMG_1845 IMG_1901IMG_1949IMG_1959IMG_1916IMG_1978IMG_1943IMG_2035IMG_2022IMG_1987IMG_2120IMG_2056IMG_2047IMG_2103This girl right here was a kid after my own heart. Seriously, the second we pulled up she just attached herself to my leg, and I loved it. I’m a total mom so getting to look after her just about the whole time we were there was incredible. The thing that was really refreshing throughout the whole thing was that she didn’t need to be thrown in the air or tossed around, rather, she just wanted me to hold her. It was a beautiful picture of our Father’s love for us, and how simple and freeing it is!IMG_2197 IMG_2191 IMG_2175 IMG_2240 IMG_2183IMG_2238 IMG_2246 IMG_2253 IMG_2239 IMG_2322 IMG_2333 IMG_2373The next little boy that came into the playground will be a child I never forget. This child was brought in by a young girl and he immediately went to one of the interns. Eventually my friend Joy got ahold of him and there was no letting this beautiful child out of our sight at this point. I had to capture this moment, and the fact that we didn’t bring this child back to America with us is such a shocker.IMG_2316 IMG_2310 IMG_2269 IMG_2261When we had to give this cutie back it was our first major heartbreak. Not for the pure fact that we had to give him back but rather, because of the fact that there was no one to give him to. The little girl who brought him in was no longer there. We literally had to give this baby who was no more than a few month old to another child to make sure he got home. It was a true picture of the need in this nation. Just getting to hold him and be there for him was incredible.IMG_2433 IMG_2420 IMG_2394

As we left Ol’ Naladie that day each of us was changed in a different way. We all saw the true gift of lives that we’d received, even if that simple gift was the fact that we knew our Father. We had no idea where these kids came from, or where they were going. This is a nation plagued by AIDs and HIV, and there is a strong likelihood that the children we played with have been effected or that their parents have been effected by these awful infections. It was a halting realization, but it led us just to love these children even more.IMG_2445 IMG_2448 IMG_2453 IMG_2478One thing I mentioned earlier was that a part of our time in Botswana was spent on two university campuses within the city of Gaborone. It is said that these two universities will contribute to the complete development of Africa asa whole. In our times on campus we got to hear from students about their lives and personal beliefs. One thing I noticed in my time there is that the culture in Botswana does not like to offend or go against the thoughts of others or speak up if they are in opposition to anyone else. It was beyond heartbreaking to me, because I saw every agreement they gave take a little piece of who they are away from them. I saw their identities being ripped right from their grips and that they were sold this new identity that was no identity at all because it wasn’t them. It was this false perception that the world had sold them in exchange for their hearts, fears, dreams, and aspirations. Our goal as a team was to assist in their restoration, but also to help them to see the true and real them. From these conversations we saw more than 10 people choose to join our team in our times of sharing on campus. It was unreal!

The next few pictures are of our second time going back to Ol’ Naladie. IMG_2612 IMG_2622 IMG_2687 IMG_2751IMG_2813IMG_2874

This little gem above is my friend Brandon. I had to take the time to share this story because it’s kind of been the staple of our trip to Botswana. On the second day of us being at the playground this beautiful little girl wandered up to Brandon, and all she wanted was for him to hold her. Most of the other kids wanted be tossed around in the air, and played with, but literally all this girl wanted was for Brandon to hold her. To be in the embrace of someone who she didn’t know was the most comforting thing she cold have at that moment. Brandon held onto this little beauty the entire 2 and a half hours that we were there that day and he never let her go. As Brandon put her down to leave I saw the love that only our Father could give in Brandon’s heart. He finally got it! He saw our purpose in coming to Africa was not just for the experience, or the sight seeing, but rather it was for changing lives, and laying down our own so that our Father would be glorified! It was probably one of the most beautiful stories that we have from our entire time in Africa!
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Our last day in country was absolutely jam packed! First of all WE GOT TO GO ON SAFARI, WHAT!? Yep we rode around and saw some pretty cool animals. Then we hiked Kahle Hill, which is seriously one of the most intense hikes I’ve ever had, but it’s literally a hill… with about a 75 degree incline! Ha! IMG_3121 IMG_3135 IMG_3137 IMG_3150 IMG_3159 IMG_3162 IMG_3170 IMG_3187 IMG_3197 IMG_3198 IMG_3203 IMG_3205 IMG_3224 IMG_3251IMG_3273 IMG_3258 IMG_3260 IMG_3255The next four pictures are of the amazing interns that lead us around all week. I honestly don’t think our week would’ve been as awesome had we not had these amazing folks! D2, Rachel, Melissa, and Brandt, seriously thank you so much for all you this week in helping us to love Botswana so well!IMG_2756 IMG_2803 IMG_2805 IMG_2808This week seriously changed me and my heart was broken to see my brokenness and my suffering. I saw where my Father absolutely pointed out that I am in need of healing, and how He is the only one that can supply it. I am thankful for His provincial love, and how it just radiates through my life. Being in Botswana left me in awe of His glory and how He longs to have me be like some of the children I got to see here in Botswana. We must gracefully fall at His feet in adoration, humility, and most of all love. For He is where love comes from, and I am proud to say that all my fountains are in him!

Thank you for reading this extra long blog post and basking in the glory of Botswana!

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