The holidays have started, the cold weather has arrived here in California, and it has hit me. In LESS than a month and a half, I will be leaving my home state and my country. I literally leave NEXT month. I even got my new passport this week. Wow!
I will be leaving my home, family, the life I know, routine, and my usual comfort zone. Obviously I've known since about March (or was it April?) that I was leaving for London in January of 2012. In March, the trip, however, was still months away. (Even now I'm not quite sure it has fully hit me that the trip is so close!)
It's odd to think I'm leaving the country NEXT month. While I have known it was coming it still slightly feels like it has been sneaking up on me. Ever since finding out about my acceptance (and even before being accepted) I was in prayer about the trip. It's been in my mind for months as I have prayed and worked on fundraising. However, at the same time, I haven't had much time to actually sit back and think about the trip itself in a complete sense and the fact that it is near. Throughout the year I have been busier than usual and I've had to really focus on family. I've had to grieve loss and other situations in life, go to classes for college, and have made other travels for other shorter term mission trips. My mind has been on many things and my focus and energy has been divided among many things.
As I think about the trip with OM to Germany and London I get excited. I think to myself, "I can't believe where God has been leading me and where I'm about to go." In all my life, until this year, I honestly never saw God leading me where He is leading me for the upcoming year of 2012. I never thought that God would open doors and have the ability to take a semester off college to go and serve Him overseas in whatever way possible. In my mind I always thought of longer termed mission trips being after college once I had a degree.
I'm excited to see what the months overseas hold for my life. I am excited for the experiences, to meet new people, and to see what God is doing in England. I'm excited to see how God is going to guide and use me while I am there and to be able to take part in His plan for London.
At the same time of being excited I am also nervous and scared. For the most part it's a good kind of nervousness and fear. It's the type of fear and nervousness that comes with the unknown and not knowing what to expect. It's the type of fear and nervousness of temporarily living in a culture and country I've never even visited. I've lived in one house all my life, in one state, in one city. Well, except my one year in a dorm room in Nashville. (And the main culture differences about California and Nashville, Tennessee? Pretty much greener grass, humidity, more rain, more fried foods, and a southern twang.) The longest I've ever been overseas was for 10 days or so at a time.
There are a lot of things to fear when traveling. You can fear getting lost, losing your luggage (or the airport losing the luggage!), adapting to cultures, making friends...etc...etc...But for me, while some of those issues make me slightly nervous, the other part of my fear comes from leaving my family for so long after such a time of craziness (read My Card Board Testimony). To a degree it terrifies me. It's taken me a while to stop constantly think, "What's next??" or, "Something else is going to happen. I just know it." Once many things happen, one illness and sickness after another, it can leave a girl feeling frazzled and on edge of thinking something else bad is right around the corner. These feelings and thoughts burned on my brain for months but have finally slowed way down. I have much less paranoia that danger is lurking around the corner.
All that being said...It's a scary thing to leave family and the ones you love the most for any length of time in general. I think out of all the things that make me nervous, this is the biggest of them all. While the feelings of danger being right around the corner have calmed way down and I'm not nearly as paranoid, I have my fears of more possible trials to come my families way while I am away. In particular, my father's health.
Life is a journey. Sometimes the journey is easy and sometimes it is hard. We all take different roads and trails and have different stories to tell. Life is a fascinating thing and mixed emotions and feelings are expected to come for any given part of our life's journey. There are moments of laughter, sadness, tears, joy, happiness, and excitement. There will be some friends of whom will come and go, helping you become who you are along the way. The journey I have taken in my last 20 years had definitely been an interesting and unique one to take. I cannot wait to see what God does with the next 20 years, let alone the next 6 months! I am glad you are tagging along with me through my blog!
The Travelin' Chick,
PS: As a financial update, I should have only $3,200 left to raise for my mission trip! I'm more than half way there from the original $7,000! If you feel led and able to give check out my donations page. You can donate via PayPal or by mail. Or if you want to know how to pray, check out my prayer page! Or, if you're completely in wonder about what I'm doing and where I'm going (or maybe even about who I am!) there are pages for that too here on my blog. Check them out and be in touch with any questions and/or comments!! :-)