Marching On

“March on and weather the storm, for a rainbow is just around the corner.”

My dad wrote that in a card to me the first time I came to Africa. It’s a comment I have never forgotten. The past few months have been extremely difficult, with the intense heat, demanding hours spent trying to figure out how to teach and motivate my students, saying no to people who ask for school fees because I don’t have enough money to help, entertaining “my kids” and tutoring them in their school work, and battling loneliness and exhaustion. To sum things up, here’s what a wrote to a dear friend in a message:

I am dying to get home. I am soooo worn out. I am exhausted. I am weary. I am in desperate need to be refreshed. I can’t wait to be home with my family. I can’t wait to see friends again. I can’t wait to lie in my bed and not sweat…I can’t wait to lie in my bed and not be a little scared or have to pray off satan every night. I can’t wait to sleep soundly and wake up without back problems. I can’t wait to go ONE day without someone asking me for money. I can’t wait to be with Grandma. I can’t wait for weddings! I can’t wait to actually have real communication with people. I can’t wait for someone to put their hand on me and pray for me. I can’t wait to worship with christians my age. I can’t wait to have time to process through everything here…to just REST. to be refreshed. I am so eager to leave.

I am already depressed that I only have 4 weeks left here. I am sad to leave my students. These students are by far the most challenging but best class I’ve ever taught. I want to cry right now thinking about leaving them. And the worst is when they ask me not to leave.

I already had trouble sleeping the past two nights thinking about leaving. I had a dream where I did leave and didn’t shed a tear. I was happy to be home until I realized I had gone so quickly that I didn’t get to say goodbye to my kids. And I realized that I had left everything in my room except dirty clothes that I brought home. I hadn’t even packed. Then I started freaking out because I had to go back and say goodbye, but I didn’t have money and I couldnt’ go back. It was the WORST feeling. It was like a nightmare to me. And in my dream I started praying and saying, “Lord, PLEASE let this be a dream! Please let this be a dream!!” Then i woke up…

Though I want to go home, it will be the most painful thing I’ve experienced…to leave my children behind, knowing they have pain of their own. When I leave I get to go HOME…to people who love me and care for me. But when I leave them, they don’t get that. They just get hurt. 🙁

The worst part, what makes it hardest to leave is of course Tenele. If it weren’t for her, it wouldn’t be AS painful to go. But some things have happened recently that make it all the more difficult for me to leave her…(but you’ll have to wait for the next blog to hear about all of that.) But it’s a burden I can’t carry. I don’t know what to do anymore. I don’t know what to pray. I am frustrated and alone. I am burdened and hurting. I am so sick of praying for her freedom over and over and over again. I know God is working, I know HE is. But it doesn’t take away the pain or the frustration in the moment. I want things to happen in my timing. I don’t want to wait anymore. But he says, “Kate, trust me. Don’t give up.” And I think, “But God it is so hard. I am sick of waiting. I am sick of pouring out myself to Tenele and these girls when nothing’s happening. What more do you want from me?”

Anyway, but good things are still happening here. I’m trying not to be so overwhelmed, but it is so hard because it is so lonely. I have never been so lonely in all my life. On the other hand, I am learning to depend on God solely. And that is something incredible.

So those are some of the storms…but here are things that keep me going, smiling, giving, loving, and marching on…towards the rainbow.

-My basketball team is amazing. The girls always make me feel loved, calling me nicknames like “Precious” and “Kobe” or “The Kobress” because they think I have a beautiful shot. They are a divine blessing and I don’t know what I would do here without them and without some good hard basketball as an outlet for stress.
-Speaking of basketball, we hosted a tournament last weekend and I was interviewed and on Swazi TV!

-I went horseback riding with some other volunteers through the gorgeous countryside of Swazi.

-I recently went on a safari with Lydia and her parents, who are here visiting her. We got so close to an elephant we could almost touch him! We saw hippos, rhinos, elephants, zebras, giraffes, and lots more. I will be uploading the pictures soon.
-We celebrated Pununu’s birthday last night with Johannes and Ayanda and Tenele!
-Easter is coming!
-We are starting to raise funds for the new girls’ home, which will be opened in Jan. 2012!
-We are trying to come up with ways for young teenage girls to make some money other than prostitution
-phone calls
-my friend sent me a list of things to look forward to when I get home and it was amazing. I think she knows me more than I know myself!
-the list of good things goes on

Despite the storm, I know the rainbow is there, because God is good ALL the time.

And in the words of one of my favorite songs,

“Sometimes He calms the storm; other times, He calms His child.”

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