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Mark is back in America. I’m living in a little cottage near the family’s house. Once I got all unpacked, I just sit on the couch and cry. What on earth am I doing? I had to get all of that fear and insecurity out of my system in order to move on and pursue what I know I’m here to do.
I walk to the compound by myself every day and it feels really good. I have my morning routine down of $7 Rice Krispies for breakfast (a worthy splurge to remind me of home), a hot shower (praise!), a little reading, and out the door to spend 10am-4pm with Elina and the ladies. I come home, stopping at the grocery store for fresh (mostly) vegetables, and cook up some rice to go with it, a three hour process from start to dishes cleaned and put away.
I’m housesitting for another American woman. This cottage is super cute, decorated exactly how I would dream of decorating my own place someday. It’s quiet and restful, and is a gift to be able to rent.
But I’d be lying if I said that nighttime isn’t hard for me. Often times, especially since it’s dry season, the power goes out around 8pm, and it’s just my laptop and me and bad cell service. I’ll read a little bit, try to contact friends back home, try to catch my boyfriend during his work break, but usually just end up writing emails to people I miss. It’s only been a few weeks, but it’s pretty lonely here.
Tonight is a night like every other. The power just went out at 8, just after I finished the dishes and got a hot shower, thankfully. Today I had a lot of work to do on my computer and phone, and pulled a rookie move- I wasn’t charging them while I was using them.
Phone is almost dead, computer is dead, and I’m out of candles. It’s pitch black. I’ve always been kind of afraid of the dark, so I’m already on edge. I lock the house with the padlocks. Bars are on the windows (as most houses have), and I lock myself in the bedroom for some perceived safety. This night feels especially creepy, but I can’t tell my parents who are 6,000+ miles away. It’ll only worry them.
An hour or so has passed. I’m about to go to sleep when I hear a strange noise. Pow pow. Brakes? The road is quiet and I don’t think it’s a car. It gets louder.
I hear them coming closer on the other side of the concrete wall that’s about eight feet high. My bedroom window is only two feet from the wall. I lay perfectly still, as if that’ll keep them away. Heart pounding, sweating, tears falling out of my eyes without my awareness of them.
I look around the room. There’s nowhere I could hide that wouldn’t still be exposed with the windows filling up most of the wall. Usually I like those windows and the breeze that flies through them.
So I lay there. Praying. Crying. Regretting every bit of the go-getter in me who thought I needed to live alone to prove my independence and such.
And I realized in that moment that there are two options: I will either be shot by this gunman approaching the property. Or I will live. That’s it. It may sound wild, but I just felt overwhelmed with the sense of doom, fighting fear with every ounce of my being. A physical pain almost. Would I survive this, or would this be the end of my story, my life?
By the grace of God, I somehow fell asleep. I woke up from the light shining in my window, birds chirping, the world seemingly unaware of the horror of the night before.
Cautiously I unlocked the bedroom door and tip-toed around the house. Everything was intact, the padlock still on the front door. I was okay. I made it through.
And I had two choices: either stay locked inside forever and live in the fear of what could happen, or choose to take that step of faith outside the house, trusting that the God who brought me to Zambia was the one who would walk with me every step of the way.
It changed me. It changed my idea of faith, of trust, of God.
I chose to get ready for the day, open the gate, and take the step outside, walking the same path I’d walked every day so far.
But I knew something had to change.
Part 6, the final piece of The Very Beginning, goes live 7/19
Only ONE MONTH left to grab your ticket for our Galas for Hope! Meet Elina, our very first student and now Zambia Director, who is coming to the U.S. for the first time to share her powerful story with YOU! It's going to be great and we hope you'll join us.