We had lots of fun talking about weather and Africa. They had great questions to ask. And they even gave me some great St. Patrick's day apparel for this up-coming holiday weekend! Father Bob asked me to go out to lunch with him after talking with the children. He even had a good chuckle when I unknowingly asked him [a Priest, mind you] if he was married. I gueess I have a pretty good excuse not being raised in the Catholic religion. Regardless, I think the entire school knew about my funny question before I left. :-) Anyways, his advice and kind words were such an inspiration to me. We talked about what to expect on my trip to Africa. He prepared me for the poverty, the disease, and the African hardships we would encounter while over there...But he also testified to their HOPE. And it went on from there...
He mentioned a word that really stuck with me. He said "Derek, go to Africa and EMBRACE those children. EMBRACE their families." When I later reflected on the word EMBRACE, it really "hit home" that this was indeed, my true intentions of the trip. Webster's Dictionary defines EMBRACE as the act to take or receive gladly or eagerly; accept willingly. After some praying and serious soul searching, I now know what God's purpose for me on this trip is. TO EMBRACE. I will willingly recieve these children and their families and help them to the best of my abilities. I really think the word speaks for itself. I will leave it right there.
But I do challenge you to EMBRACE what's important to you. Whether it be your family, friends, morales or idealistic values...take it to the next level. Never abandon what God has given you. Personally, god has given me this opportunity to travel to Africa. I will EMBRACE it with my heart and soul.