This trip changed everything. The way I look at things has changed, the things that I want (or thought I wanted) has changed, my plans have change, I've changed. And I couldn't be more grateful. This trip has opened my eyes in more ways that one. I don't think I will ever fully be able to explain or put in to words what God did, it was that powerful, that big, that life changing. I don't think I can say thank you enough to those that have prayed and supported me before, during, and now that my trip has come to an end. I still have a long road a head of me in returning to Africa so every prayer, thought or encouraging word that are sent my way mean more to me than you will ever know. 
This past week has been extremely difficult. My days are filled with looking at pictures, reading anything and everything I can on Africa, and contacting everyone I can think of the help me go back. It hasn't even been a week but I have already grown impatient, checking my email and facebook every 5 seconds hoping someone will get back to me and tell me the steps I need to take. Today I finally looked away from my computer, closed my eyes and just prayed. Prayed that God would give me patience. When it is His time that all the pieces would fall together and while I wait that He would give me strength. I am going to be honest and say I don't want to be here anymore. I want to be back at Noel, where I left my heart. But I am constantly having to remind myself; I had to wait years to go to Africa the first time. Why? Because I wasn't ready and God knew that. He had to prepare me and my heart for what I was going to see and things that would change as a result. I wasn't ready and so God made me wait. . I don't know what God has in store for me while I wait but I do know that His timing and plans for my life are perfect in every way. That applies now, and always. And so I am waiting. 

*I lay my plans, future and life at your feet Lord God. May Your will be done in Your perfect timing, not mine* 

Day 3 December 30th

A little background on the Imbabazi Orphange- 
In the aftermath of the genocide, at the age of 82, Roz Carr founded an orphanage on her flower plantation in the foothills of the Virunga volcanoes. The orphanage is called Imbabazi, which means “a place where you will receive all the love and care a mother would give.” Since it opened its doors in December of 1994, Roz and her staff have cared for more than 400 lost or orphaned children. The Imbabazi is currently home to 110 children. 

We started the four hour journey to Imbabazi today. The drive was indescribably beautiful. The green, the mountains, the diversity of tress and the people. Some stared, some didn't notice but most smiled and waved. I have seen a diversity of smiles in my 20 years but never like the ones I saw in Africa. I could feel joy and love every time someone smiled in my direction. It was impossible to look at these people and not feel Gods presence. Gods beautiful creation surrounded us and it was breathtaking in every way. 
When we arrived at the orphanage I will admit I was being shy and nervous. The majority of the kids were older and for some reason I was intimidated by that. It is so easy for me to jump into a group of 5 year olds and spend hours being goofy, but I am completely out of my comfort zone when it comes to teenagers. That is why I am thankful for the time I got to spend at Imbabazi. Everyone has their own comfort zone, but I'm tired of always remaining in mine. I want to pushed out of my comfort zone because when that happens I have nothing else to do but lean on God and allow Him to work in wondrous way through and around me. 
Like every orphanage, I interacted with more than just one person and did more than one thing , but for now I am just going to share with you one person and one thing that happened.
I was outside playing soccer in the rain with a little boy when it was announced it was time for the tour. I told the little boy I would be back and began to follow my team and their children when I noticed a girl walking beside me. I recognized her immediately from the dance party that occurred in the girls living area. Like me she didn't participate in the dancing, instead she stood back and observed. I caught her smiling a couple of times but for the most part she just watched. I was somewhat surprised to see her walking beside me. I was probably being the least interesting/entertaining team member there and yet there she was. From the time the tour started up until the time I got on the bus she was by my side. We didn't have lengthy conversations, we didn't talk about anything deep, and we didn't do anything interesting. We were just there for each other. 
So you may be thinking, well nothing "big" happened, but than you would be wrong. Something big did happen. Maybe not to you and it may not always be clear to me either, but God knows. I didn't choose the girl I came in contact with. She choose me. God knew exactly what she needed and in the moments that we shared with one another she just needed someone to walk by her side, and so that's what I did. 

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