"So what are you looking at doing this year?" he asked me.
"Well, I'm hoping to teach a few more classes next year, but I'm not sure what I'm going to do for my day job."
He got very excited. "There's this school with a dance program, and their teacher is leaving. They're worried that they might have to end the program if they can't find a teacher. If you were able to do it, it would be a huge answer to prayer."
"That sounds pretty cool! Where is it?" I'm willing to go just about anywhere inside the US.
"It's in Malawi."
"Wait, Malawi? As-as in... Africa?"
He nodded. "It has the only arts programs in the area, so everyone sends their kids there. You'll get to work with kids from all over the world." Before I left, he gave me the contact info for the school people.
I got on my plane that afternoon with my head reeling. Sudden ideas flared in my head of far lands and foreign adventures. Doing what I love in a place I had never seen before.
When I got home, I asked my parents if we could sit and talk for a minute. I had asked my friend to be there too. I told them what my friend had said, finishing with the part about it being in Africa.
They stared at me for a minute, then all started offering input. The general consensus seemed to be that if this was where I felt God leading me, I should apply and see what happened. So that's what I did.
I heard back almost right away. They were happy to have me, and as soon as the paperwork came through, they officially offered me the position.
I didn't realize this until later, but apparently most people applied in September or October, and had signed their contracts pretty soon thereafter. I hadn't even heard of the program until May. This left me with about ten weeks to pull together enough money for a year-long missions trip. It was the same problem as moving to the other city would have been, only on a larger scale.
I had some money saved in the bank, so I would still be able to go if I didn't get quite enough money, but it would leave me fairly empty when I got back. Slowly, money started to trickle in, and slowly, if became enough. Two days before I left, the last of the money I needed was promised. In his own timing, God came through.
So here I am. I meant to post this while I was on the way, but it didn't end up happening. Sorry. But here I am, sitting in my house on campus. Classes start this week, and I can't wait.
So I guess this is going to turn into a missionary blog for awhile. I'll be posting my updates here, along with hopefully some photos.
At my college, our class verse was 1 Corinthians 2:9: "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him." I've always enjoyed that verse. It's been used by some at various times for prosperity gospel purposes, but it's a beautiful verse regardless. The president of my college used that verse at the graduation, only 24 hours before possibilities invaded my world, and it's been echoing through my head ever since.
If you had told me a year ago that I was going to be spending a year teaching ballet in Africa, I probably wouldn't have laughed at you, but I probably wouldn't have believed you either. I would have thought it highly unlikely that there was a place to learn ballet just about anywhere in Africa, let alone a little country tucked between a lake and mountains. But here I am. And I'm excited to see what God has for me here.