This weekend I get to lounge on the deck drinking iced tea and playing card games with my parents, aunt, uncle, cousins, and grandpa. We'll probably also visit my favorite used bookstore, where I'll let the smell and atmosphere of Ames' Bookstore roll over my senses, logging them away in my memory to keep safe until I'm in Africa, searching for a familiar memory of home. My friend Isaac asked me a few weeks ago what I will miss the most when I'm in Africa, and I have decided that after missing my friends and family the most, I think I will next miss the availability and variety of books I have here. I might need to sacrifice some clothes or other "necessities" in order to fit my favorite books into my luggage. Who needs toothpaste when you have G.K. Chesterton?
Regarding financial preparation, I have seen God abundantly provide in only a few weeks! My tiny home church in Grass Valley, the one I went to since I was five, took an offering for me, and raised enough to cover all of my up-front expenses! Also, right now the monthly pledges add up to about $200/month, which was the minimum we were hoping for. I am so grateful for the Lord's provisions as well as my church family's generosity. It gives me affirmation that living in Africa for a year is the right thing to do. Thank you so much to everyone reading this right now, because this is made possible because of your prayers and your gifts. I am overwhelmed by the encouragement and support you have given me, and can't wait to tell you how God's kingdom will be furthered because of your partnership with me.