how did I get here?

I booked my first plane ticket to Africa on a whim.

One of my favorite graduate school professors had sparked my interest in going there when I met her during my first visit to the school. Each year, she invited students to join her while she ministered to people with hearing loss in Mozambique. All I had to do was find my way to Johannesburg, South Africa and she would meet me there and take me the rest of the way. The first day I researched flights, I found what I thought was a “cheap” ticket (it wasn’t) on a “great” airline (again…not so much) and the plan to go was set into motion.

I had never left the country. I did not have a passport. (Did you know they’ll let you buy the ticket without it?!) I did not have the money. But I was getting on a plane on my own to go to a continent I knew next-to-nothing about. This was definitely not my usual, carefully-planned, need-to-know-all-the-details, self. 

Taking time to play & pass out candy during clinic in Mozambique (2006).

Even in this whim, the Lord was, of course, working.  On that trip, a love for the people of Africa was born and  I began to get a picture of the need that existed there. It was also the time when I started to see how the Lord might use my career for more than just a way to make a living.

Three years later, I went with a medical team to southern Sudan. I was in the middle testing four-year-old Abraham’s hearing when it hit me that his profound hearing loss would keep him from hearing the gospel. He lives in a place where there is not an opportunity for him to learn sign language and certainly no way for him to receive technology that might help him access spoken language (how can they believe in Him of whom they have never heard?). The weight of that reality crushed me.

Even under this crushing weight, the Lord was, of course, working. I left Sudan pleading with Him to send people to East Africa to invest their lives in the hearing impaired population there. Within a few months, I knew that He would probably use me to answer that prayer, but I still had no idea how.

About a year after I began praying, I just happened to ended up at a Baylor football game with a friend from college who just happened to needed someone to build the audiology program for a non-profit organization she had started whose goal was to train people in Africa to provide rehabilitation services for children with special needs.

Ok,seriously…can we talk about how incredible it is when something comes to you gift-wrapped directly from Jesus? This conversation was the beginning of a year-and-a-half of events and circumstances that take my breath away when I look at the whole sequence of them. The most beautiful part of all of it for me is that I have done nothing to manipulate it or create a situation for myself. It was nothing less than a ridiculously generous gift from my Father. (You can read more about how my involvement in CLASP International has played a role in my decision to move in my first post here.)

So even in my decision to attend a Baylor football game (which we lost, by the way. badly.), the Lord, of course, was working.  I can trace His hand directly from that day to where I find myself now. I cannot wait to tell the story of where He takes me from here.

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4 thoughts on “how did I get here?

  1. That really is quite an amazing coincidence that you ended up where you when you did. I’m so glad that you got this opportunity! I know its exactly what you were looking for, and they are so lucky to have such a talented Doctor of Audiology heading up the program. Good luck!

  2. Sweet friend, I just sat here and cried as I read and remembered how faithfully and beautifully the Lord worked all of this out. I am beyond excited for you and thankful that we went to watch Baylor get killed by Tech that day. :) I know He’s going to do big things through you and I’m thankful that I get to watch!

  3. My tears are flowing again, my sweet daughter. I remember the day you were born and your daddy and I dedicated you and your life to the Lord. Little did we know the journey He would provide. We watched you grow up in church and accept Jesus in your heart not long after your Gran-Gran went to Heaven. (Oh how proud she and Da would be) We knew God would use you in a mighty way. We saw some miracles in your life and we went to many audiological appointments being told you would be deaf by the time you were a teen ager. You graduated from High School as an intelligent young lady and went “way off” to Baylor and became an amazing young woman. Little did we know, Baylor was not “that far away.” We had no clue at the tim all of those audiology appointments would be just stepping stones in your life to becoming a Doctor of Audiology.
    On December 23, 2011, as we sat in the den, you told us of the plans God had provided and of course I cried. My tears were not of sadness, although God and I are still working this selfish mother thing, they were a mixture of emotions and a little pride! I am so excited to see what God has planned for my precious little girl. I could go on and on and probably will for the next year! hehehe
    We serve such an amazing God!
    I love you with all my heart!
    Mom

  4. So incredible, Stephanie. So happy and proud for you!!! May God Bless You and use you in mighty ways to love his children!!!! WOW !! Will be anxious to hear all about it!!

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