Goodbye, Rwanda. Hello, Ghana.

Hi guys. So, I really don’t understand how it’s already time to write this final post on Rwanda. I’m really not ready to leave. I’ve been stealing words from my host mama a lot lately, but she says it best. Half my heart is here, how could I feel ready to leave? 
I wanted to take a few more moments to reflect on this trip. It has been life changing, and for me it’s not even half over yet. I have learned so much about myself, and this world. I want to talk about that for a few minutes. 

Here’s a bit of what Rwanda taught me:

1. I am stronger and braver than I ever thought. I mean, I rafted class five rapids on the Nile River. I walked a canopy bridge in Nyungwe Forest. I hiked a tropical rainforest, and a volcano. I’m going to Ghana with just one other person. God has shown me that I can handle a lot more than I thought I could. He’s shown me that physically, I can push through. He’s shown me that mentally, I can focus and accomplish whatever He wants me to accomplish. 

2. Finding balance isn’t easy. I have a soft heart. I will always have a soft heart. It turns out, that’s okay. I’m still learning to balance that soft heart with the harshness of this world. But I’ve learned it’s okay to be angry. It’s okay to cry. It’s okay to feel guilty. What’s not okay is letting that consume me and stop me from taking action. What’s not okay is keeping it all to myself and not trusting God with it. That’s where I’m working, that’s where I think I’ll find balance. 

3. There is something special about Africa. I can’t place my finger on it, but it’s true. There’s this feeling, this sense here that is so unlike anything in the US. It’s safe, and it’s comforting. It’s beautiful. And I wish I had works to describe it.

4. Pictures are great, and it’s okay to love them. But there are also so many moments that are okay to be pictured in your head and not with a camera. I’m still working on this too, because I love pictures. I love sharing them and looking at them. They make me happy, and I often worry that without pictures, I’ll forget. But I’m learning to enjoy the moment for the moment, not miss it trying to snap the perfect picture. 

5. Missionaries don’t have it all together, all the time. And that’s okay. God is in the messy bits. He’s there when it’s challenging. And I appreciate so much getting to hear about the challenges. There are a lot of sacrifices made in dedicating your life to being a missionary, but it’s also a special calling. I’m still figuring out what mine is.

6. People are people, no matter where you are. And when you get a chance to meet people who view life differently than you do, both of you get the opportunity to grow. I spent a good two hours at the Art Center today, talking to a great guy who managed to make me view Rwanda differently one last time before leaving. He made me realize that it’s okay to trust your gut. Others may not agree with you, but trusting your gut, trusting Gods calling for your life, it’s more important than the views of this world.

7. God is perfect, and this world is not. It’s hard to have high standards sometimes, and to realize that sometimes things can be messy and good at the same time. Life isn’t completely black and white, and the grey area is often exactly where God puts you. When I came to Africa, I had very few ideas of what to expect. I didn’t know what I was walking in to. But I never expected Rwanda to be the way it was. I never expected it to change my heart the way it has. The truth is, I had no interest in coming to Africa. I thought that it wasn’t for me. I swore the first country I’d go to would be Chile. Yet, God had other plans for me. He put me in a world of grey areas and shook up my planner lifestyle. I never expected to love it. I never expected my heart to change for messy places. My standards haven’t lowered, but my heart has grown. Instead of expecting life to come up to my naive and optimistic view, I’ve learned that I can love life for what it is, and play my role in bringing it to where God wants it to be, with His plan, not my own. I’ve also learned that it’s the unexpected messy bits that are the greatest.

8. It’s okay to be scared. It’s okay to be concerned, and confused. What’s important is to take that to God too. I’ve been scared a few times here, and I’m nervous about heading off to Ghana. But I’m learning to trust God’s plan for my life, and I’m still learning to give my anxieties to him. 

So, there have clearly been a lot of things on this trip that have shaped and molded my life. I’m very excited to continue on to Ghana, because I know God has even more plans for me there. 

I won’t have access to wifi in Ghana so the blogs will stop for awhile after this one. However I will be checking in periodically with those I love via phone calls. I would greatly appreciate your continued prayer and support as Megan and I say goodbye to Rwanda and hello to Ghana. 
Thank you for your support and love here in Rwanda. I can truly say that I love this country and that someday I fully expect to be back. Rwanda is a country unlike any other, and pieces of my heart will remain here. 

And now it’s time to welcome Ghana. I am certain it will claim a piece of my heart as well. Turns out, my heart is big enough, and having a soft heart is a beautiful and precious thing that I have no intention of giving up. 

I’ll be journaling still in Ghana and will share the rest of my story when I’m back home in the States.

Until then, may you be blessed, may you find God in messy places, and may you welcome the unexpected. 

All my love,

Brandi 

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