By Caitlin
Gustavus Adolphus College Trip Participant

Hello friends!

With the Thanksgiving holiday behind us and the “crunch time” of December and semester finals creeping up for us college students, another significant event is looming large: in just over a month, we will be traveling to Rwanda, most of us for the first time. For me, this will be my first time on a mission trip and my first time out of the country since I was four (and that was Canada, so let’s face it, it’s not much of cross-cultural leap). Am I nervous? You bet. I am even occasionally somewhat terrified. But am I also excited? Of course! I get to fly halfway around the world with a team of six other awesome Christian women, plus a husband and an adorable toddler who shares my name, all of whom I love and I know support me and my endeavors (which includes an independent study I’ve developed for college credit, a project I know will challenge me in only the best way possible).

Still, if you’re anything like me, those preconceived notions of hostility, disease, incivility, and generally expected social/cultural awkwardness that come with the territory of that big mysterious continent called “Africa” always linger in the back of my mind, even though I’ve done my fair share of research on the little country in which I’ll be spending the better part of the month of January. But that doesn’t mean I don’t expect to change or get rid of those notions after a week, a day, or even an hour in Rwanda. On the contrary–I know God will use this trip to better me as a person, on whatever level, and that’s what keeps me sane, quite frankly. Will I miss my parents, family, friends? I’m sure of it. Will I wish to get home to America at some point before our designated return? Probably. But because of our team meetings, the awesome team training challenge we participated in, making our way through the vast metropolis of the Twin Cities (hey, for a fairly small-town kid, it’s huge) on the most epic of scavenger hunts, the strength of what I believe was my personal call back in April, and just time spent in prayer, there is no doubt in my mind that I am in exactly the right place spiritually, physically and mentally in embarking on this amazing journey.

So with that in mind, I’d say we’re pretty prepped and ready to go.

We’ve bought the plane tickets, made the reservations, got the packing list (and yes, I’ve already done some shopping!), and Karen has even provided us with some Kinyarwanda words and phrases to soften our inevitable slam into the language barrier. I’m probably most excited about that last part, though I’ll have to work on saying the word for airport–ikibuga cy’indege, pronounced “eekeeboogah cheendaygay”–without laughing.

Lest I ramble on any more and start to make you yawn, however, I will say goodbye, and simply ask that you keep us in your prayers as we travel and continue to condition our minds to do God’s work, and tell your friends to do so as well, if they are comfortable.

Until next time,

Caitlin


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