Wednesday, August 7, 2013

All Good Things

Daniel, Me & Majoro
It’s hard to believe, but today is my last day here at the St. James Mission Hospital. Crazy! Accompanying today is about a thousand different emotions that I have no idea how to put into words. Don’t ask me how I feel about leaving because that answer changes by the minute. I’m happy, sad, frantic, excited, reminiscent, tired, cold, fulfilled, delirious, blown away, blessed, not ready, completely ready, and many more. Basically, overwhelmed!

It’s been almost a year since I left the USA, which is by far the longest time I’ve ever spent away from home. I. Can. Not. Wait to be back home and see all my family and friends! That’s my biggest emotion right now. That being said, I’m totally going to miss this place. While a year is a long time to be away from my family, it’s barely long enough to get acquainted to a new place and new culture. It’s really only been in the last few weeks that I’ve felt like I actually live here and that I’m not just a perpetual visitor. It’s strange to finally start feeling like you really live somewhere and then it’s all over!

'Me Mochekoane, Me & Fiona

There was a prayer that was given to my YASC group at our discernment weekend, over a year and a half ago, called “The Road Ahead” by Thomas Merton. I loved it then, and I still love it now because it’s the perfect way to describe the past year.

The Road Ahead
My Lord God,
I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following 
your will does not mean that I am actually doing so.

But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this, you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it.

Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone. Amen.

-Thomas Merton

Me, Ntate John & Majoro
That prayer always reminds me that it’s ok to have no idea what’s going on or what’s going to happen. It’s ok to have doubts, fears, anxieties, and troubles as long as I have faith. That’s a fantastic thing to be reminded of when living in a new culture while desperately grasping for any sort of footing. Now, it’s the easiest thing in the world to say I have faith that everything will work out, but practicing that faith is a completely different story. To be honest, it’s absolutely terrifying.

The kitchen staff and Me
I’ve put a lot of thought into where this faith comes from and how I can better practice it. I’ve always been a very independent person. I really don’t like relying on other people because I always picture myself as a burden when I need help. I just like figuring things out for myself. You might be more familiar with this mindset under its alternate title, “Stubbornness.” As you might guess, this approach to life does not work in a mission setting. From the moment I stepped on the plane to leave home, I became completely and totally reliant on other people. It took a while to get over the initial nagging fears, like “Will I have a good place to live?”, “Will I have enough food?”, “Will my co-workers like me?”, “Should I actually be here?”, “Am I crazy!?”, etc (The verdict is still out on the crazy question). I could have spent all year trying to answer those questions, and it would have been a total waste of a year. Luckily, that’s not what happened. I eventually learned that I wasn’t so much relying on others as I was relying on God. But more importantly, I was relying on God by accepting the hospitality, friendship, love, help, and guidance of all the wonderful people that have been a part of my Lesotho experience, thus practicing my faith. That’s a huge realization for a stubborn-headed fool like myself! God doesn’t give us what we think we need, he gives us what we actually need. It’s nice when those two overlap, but it’s when they don’t that we grow and learn.

Ntate Khoai and Me
My office Neighbor, Mapaseka 
Ntate Lekhotla and Me

So from here, I’ll head down to Maseru for a few more days to say goodbye to everyone down there, then I’ll head to Cape Town for a little bit to wrap up everything with the HOPE Africa Office. Thanks so much for reading my blog, and thank you all so much for supporting me through this year! The photos in this post are of some of the people that I've worked closely with at St. James. There's so many more that I'd like to put up, but It'd just be too long.  They’ve all made my year absolutely amazing! For the last time in Lesotho, Sala hantle!


  1. When goodbye is hard to say it means you've really connected with the people and place. Feeling much of the same, here! Enjoy your last couple of days before heading home!

    1. Thanks Jenny! Hope you and Doug are doing well. See you guys soon in NYC!