Why Botswana?

I had a very good friend ask me today what I am hoping to come out of my two years in Botswana. It made me stop and think for a bit and really reflect on what I would desire for my life to look like after being there for two years and what it is about Botswana that is drawing me there (other than God's calling, of course). Well, here is what I came up with:

1. I think I 'fit' more in Botswana because of the priorities there. There is much more importance on having and investing in relationships with people there. This fits well with my personality, as I love developing relationships with people, especially spending time in good conversation, one of my favorite things to do. There is so much less of an emphasis on acquiring 'things' and 'moving up the ladder' so to speak. The pace of life is amazing...no need to rush around to the next thing on the 'to-do' list. There is a general sense of appreciating each moment as it happens. I love that! People are also so passionate about the Lord. When they give their hearts to something, they passionately give it all. Amazing!

2. I pray that during my two years in Botswana, God will open my eyes to a whole new way of living for Him and worshipping Him. When the distractions around us lessen, it is so much easier to put more focus on Him. I look forward to fellowshipping with other believers from another culture and watching how they live out their relationship with Jesus daily. I hope to feel a purpose in each and every day, to enjoy every minute of my time there. I pray for the opportunity to be used by God to bring others to know Him more and help them develop into the people God created them to be. I want to see a whole new side of Andrea opened up by living in this new country and culture, and to become more of the person that God created me to be.

I am more excited than I can express at the thought of being there, in Botswana, Africa, every day for two years. I know there will be moments of loneliness and homesickness, but I pray in those moments that I would draw close to the Lord, knowing He is there beside me each and every moment. May my life truly be changed by this new chapter and adventure. I can't wait to walk this journey with each of you beside me, praying me through, and experiencing things with me, even being on opposite sides of the world! Isn't God amazing!

May 26 Update

Wow, life has been crazy lately! I just finished my last week of teaching and a huge chapter in my life is ending. I have loved teaching 4th grade these past eight years, and have especially enjoyed teaching in Leander ISD.

This time of year is always emotional for me, having to say good-bye to these precious kids that I have had the privilege of investing in for the past nine months. It is of course more emotional this year than in the past. After the kids left yesterday I had to close my classroom door and just have some time to reflect and mourn a little. My job now is to finish getting my classroom packed and cleaned and then check out on Tuesday.

I am really looking forward to the next couple of weeks and just having some time to rest and regroup. I have finally finished my support-raising letters and will send those out on Tuesday. I am excited to have the time to devote to Botswana preparations. I will start work again on June 12th (summer school and babysitting twice a week), which will be my new source of income. I am so excited at how God has set everything up for this summer. Scheduling has worked out perfectly and He's provided some great opportunities to make extra income. All of the money I make this summer will go towards paying off debt and saving for Africa!

Please keep checking back over the next couple of months, as I am sure I will have much to update you on. Thanks so much for your prayers and support!

Weekly Update...May 12

This month is such a bittersweet one for me. I am excited about the upcoming summer and a little bit of time to relax, along with being able to devote so much time to Botswana preparations. However, I am always sad at this time to say good-bye to these precious kids I have spent so much time investing in. It is especially emotional for me this year as I prepare to end a whole chapter in my life. I have loved living in Austin and teaching in Leander ISD for the last six years. I love my school, co-workers, and incredible students. I praise God for giving me the opportunity to live and work here for this long.

My summer calendar is filling up quickly! I will be house sitting, babysitting, teaching summer school, fundraising, visiting friends and family, and packing up my life! My lease expires July 31 and from there...it's walking by faith time! God has closed some doors for possible plans this fall. He has also opened a couple more. My heart's desire is still to be in Austin for much of the fall, substitute teaching and babysitting for income. In doing that, I will still be able to attend my church, see my friends and former students, and be in this city that I love. God has blessed me immensely with babysitting opportunities. I love this because I get paid to do what I love...play with kids!

My current prayers are for a definite answer from the Lord about where I should be this fall and where I would stay. It is so important for me to save money and pay off my student loan, so I am praying for a place to stay rent-free. I am praying for God's direction on whether that will be here in Austin or moving home to Seminole. I am also praying for clear direction on how to manage my time this summer with so much going on. Finally, I am continually praying for all of the upcoming changes in my life and that I would handle them with a joyful, positive attitude. No matter what changes occur around me, how much "stuff" I give up, or where I am physically located, Jesus is always with me, which truly is enough.