Chasing Freedom

June 26th, 2018 Posted by Immersion Internship – 2018

My name is Mallory Mishler, and I come from a small town in West Michigan. When I was in High School, God planted within me a dream of stepping my feet on African soil, which I carried with me until I felt the pull that it was finally time to go. That pull led me to this internship, where I believe God has placed me and all my fellow interns for some specific reason, which I am excited to find out more about!

Simply being over 8,000 miles from home and immersed in a culture so different from my own, I feel like I am in the perfect position to be broken and rebuilt, to lay a strong foundation that will stay with me even when I leave. Although I have learned so much already from the teachings and this culture, the one thing that has impacted me most was Dave Swensen’s teaching on freedom. For many reasons, I have spent the last few years adamantly chasing freedom, viewing a life free from any kind of bondage as more important than relationships, than community, or setting roots. When Dave walked on stage the first day, the first words to come out of his mouth were, “Freedom is not actually what we desire – it’s belonging.” To someone like me, those words were like a slap in the face. But, throughout the rest of the week, I started to see how the beliefs I have told myself over time stem from fear and lies, and are actually setting me on a pathway that will leave me all by myself. The fear attached to belonging rests, in me, in some core lies I have believed for a long time that tell me I am not worthy, not enough, to receive the love I’ve convinced myself I don’t need.

Zambia is many good things, but one of them is that it’s a place of healing for me and for many other people who have brought hearts full of baggage. Whether they’ve lugged it from the community next door or all the way from America, God doesn’t wish for us to hold pain and lies in our hearts and is just waiting for us to give Him some time to come in, break down and banish everything that is not from Him, and replace it with truth, with light, and with love. I feel that change taking place in my soul, and I know that already I am not the same person that stepped off the plane almost 4 weeks ago. She was angry, confused and afraid. My anger is being replaced with joy, my confusion with contentment, and my fear with perfect love. The Lord is walking with me each step I take here, not because He is more present in Zambia than He is in my home, but because I am finally becoming able to turn my heart towards his light like a sunflower looks to the sun.

There aren’t enough words to speak what I’m learning that is changing and challenging and growing me, but I do know this: this season is exactly what it is supposed to be, and me and every single intern around me are here together for a reason. I am growing deeper into the kind of joyful intimacy that allows me to love people fully and receive the same love from others. I am excited to see how else God will work in me, my peers, and the surrounding communities throughout the summer, and to continue falling deeper into this love that I can’t understand, contain or control.

Mallory Mishler – 2018 Immersion Intern