I had forgotten about this blog, but signed on so I could comment on a friends blog. I was shocked to see how many people have looked at these blogs in the past year. Last month over 200 people looked at my old blog - from all over the world! When I first started writing, my purpose was to keep my friends and family informed about our trip to Cameroon and fill in all the fun details of living there. I loved watching the stats and getting feedback from my friends, especially during some of the lonelier days. It seems very amusing to me that anyone else would find any of this interesting.
Since we have returned home, life has gone on at the same crazy speed as ever. One difference that shows me that we will never be the same from our experience we shared as a family- a day does not go by that one of us does not reference a memory from Africa. I love that we will always have these amazing memories. We are constantly comparing our days in Minnesota to what they were like in Cameroon. We all share the longing we have to see our friends that will always have a place in our hearts. Another change that I see is that our prayer life is a little richer - oh how I would love to have the depth of prayer that some of our African friends have. The missionaries that we have met along the way (especially those who were our neighbors), are prayed for as if they were family. I have so much respect and admiration for the missionaries that are working side by side with our brothers and sisters in Cameroon bringing God's Word to the ends of Cameroon (and beyond). I honestly cannot think of any other 3 month time of my life that had a greater impact on me or my family. My faith deepened, my eyes were opened to what the "true" missionaries do on a day to day basis and all that they give up for the Kingdom of God. I am stirred to be discontent with who I am and settling for living a "comfortable" life. I'm constantly praying and asking God what he wants to do through my life here in Minnesota. Asking and waiting for clear answers but seeing my family as my main ministry. I see my job of discipling my kids as an even greater calling. My children have been changed in ways I never could have imagined - I am excited to see all that will mean as they spread their wings and explore the path that God will take them on as young adults.
It has been over a year since our whole family returned from our great adventure. This past January (exactly one year from the date we went last year) - Kyle and Drew returned to Cameroon to work on a concrete project in Bamenda. This was not in our plan but when the opportunity came they just could not refuse. The time they spent there was quite different than our time in Ndu and there were not the daily blog of all that they did. Two other men from our church joined them for 2 of the weeks that they were there. Kyle and Drew added a 3rd week and headed up to see our friends in Ndu again. It was encouraging for them to connect again with many of the people that had imprinted themselves on our lives. They also made new friends in Bamenda. Drew told me of a family that had them over a few times for pizza and fellowship - missionaries from the states who have been in Cameroon for 20 years or so. He said I would love meeting the wife - and that we would certainly be good friends. Sadly, Karen Jackson died recently - leaving her husband and daughters (and the whole Jackson Village) mourning their loss. Even though I had never met her, I found myself mourning with them and looking forward to that day when I shall meet her. Her death has challenged me. I read of the joy that all those who knew of her talk about, of the dedication she had towards her family and her extended "village", of her deep love for her Savior and how that love drove her to show Christ to those around her. She lived her life to the fullest and there will be a large whole left in this world. She was only a few years older than I - and I am reminded that life is short. Her life and their blog have challenged me to want to be a brighter light and to take more risks as I live a life fully sold out for our Lord Jesus. As I see all the people from all over the world searching for something new to read.... I hope that they will come across one of my blogs and find encouragement and hope.
My family often talks of how we long to return to Cameroon... but actually, I believe we are longing for our home in Heaven. Cameroon showed us a glimpse of the fellowship we can share with believers from all areas of the world.... Heaven will be that and so much more. I can't wait for that ADVENTURE!!!!