In Africa, learning to be still.

My friend Ashley Hafer is spending the next year in Mozambique and Uganda loving on children and learning to rely on God in a very real way. Ashley was a teacher here in Greenville. She owns a house. She has lots of friends and a loving family. And God called her out upon the water, when she least expected it. 

During the hectic holiday season, I thought this post was particularly relevant for me, and I hope for you as well.


Ashley HaferBy Ashley Hafer

I find it quite surprising that God brought me all the way to Africa to teach me this lesson- that He wants me to be still. I’ve spent much of my life incredibly busy. I remember in tenth grade that I, at one point, was in the middle of basketball season, taking piano and voice lessons (where I was expected to practice for an hour or more each day), and attending play practice many nights for the musical Hello Dolly. I would spend all but a few waking hours at my school. I remember being so overwhelmed that I’d end up occasionally in tears. Between all my activities, school, homework, and church, I was feeling swamped. My plate was full- Thanksgiving dinner full.

Although I hate the feeling of being overwhelmed, I haven’t much changed my behavior in overcommitting to things. My plate has been “full” for much of my life. At this time last year I was teaching (which is so much more work than it probably sounds like), assistant coaching the middle school girls basketball team at my school, leading a 9th and a 10th grade girls Life Group on the weekends, leading an 8th grade girls Life Group during the week, helping with 6th-7th grade girls at church on Wednesday nights, attending a Bible study on Thursday nights, and more. While I would encourage my Life Group girls to “just be” in God’s presence, I often had a hard time living this one out.

So now I find myself in Africa. At the missions training I’m attending, I am learning that the scheduling here is much more relaxed than I’m used to. I have many hours of free time to simply be in God’s presence. The opportunities are abundant here to sit in the prayer hut and read my Bible, or simply sit on my back porch in prayer. In a way, the amount of free time here can be difficult for me. I want to come up with a plan to fill all the unstructured time. The first week I was here, I attended every extra class in the afternoons and would do virtually everything offered. Now I’m realizing I’m not here to see how many classes I can attend, but I’m here to bask in God’s presence. He’s given me an incredible opportunity to be in this place for ten weeks, where there are no outside commitments and I can simply focus on getting to know Him in an even more personal way. It’s the opportunity of a lifetime, really….

Read more at Ashley’s blog, Carolina to Kampala. All photos credit to Ashley Hafer.

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