My experience so far with EXP is hard to put into words. We’ve already spent one month in a different continent, country, and culture. Learning has become a daily…no, hourly, thing.
One of my favourite parts of life and learning is being able to interact with people. I love forming relationships, hearing life stories, and really getting to know a person. I just love people in general. So, for me, community living is great. Not only do we have the opportunity to live with 16 other people, but we also get to learn about different cultures, and different ways of life. It hasn’t been easy, but any challenges that arise can be seen as opportunities to learn and grow. We’ve laughed together, we’ve cried together. We’ve run through the mist of Victoria Falls, and snuggled up around a campfire. Mostly, we’ve just been doing life together, and it’s been pretty cool.
I’ve learned that every single person I’ve met here, whether from Zambia, America, or South Africa, has a story. And each story has played a part in shaping that person into who they are today. Our stories can affect our lives now and the way we live day-to-day. Our pasts can affect the way we view others, or how we may approach situations differently. And at the very same time, through Christ we can be free from any bondages or burdens of the past that hold us down. I’ve been learning to be aware of this; to understand the context surrounding different situations, and to reflect on the best way to approach them. Whether it’s being involved in ministries, or just in daily conversations, our experiences are a part of who we are. And as family in Christ, we are already united! So even though each of our stories are different, they somehow emerge in this experience!
Man, I love learning. That’s a great part of life, too. We have daily classes, and great teachers, who’ve taught me so much. I’ve learned about the heart behind Creation, and what God has done to bring us back to him. We’ve explored the Christian hope of the new heaven and earth, and God’s heart for missions and Africa.
I think one of the biggest things that has hit me during class has been the reality of God’s plan of restoration, and how that can be brought into our lives. As Christians, we are called to a life of mission. And our mission is to join God in restoring His people back to himself. He wants to renew this broken world, and not only that, but He wants us to be a part of it! He cares for the spiritual, emotional, and physical well-being of his children. How crazy is it that we can be a part of his ultimate plan for eternity right now!? Pretty amazing, eh? (Sorry, my Canadian is showing).
God is a patient teacher. He isn’t bothered when I ask too many questions. He isn’t annoyed when I come before him with my heart in tangles and ask him to help me sort things out. I’ve been learning through each challenge that God actually cares. His solutions to my problems may not look like what I expected, and may not come right away, but He is good and faithful. And REAL.
I’m excited for the future. We’ve all grown so much, yet I know there is so much more to go. So, as challenging as it is, I’m learning to expect the unexpected. To seek the Father through this whole experience and continue to be a student and child of the living God!
|ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Emily Proude • 2016 International Immersion Intern