Monday, December 9, 2013

Missionary Profile - Jourdan in West Africa

Today I'd like to give a big warm welcome to Jourdan who is serving in Africa. I met Jordan through the blogging community when I first wrote about my love for international missions. She commented on my post and we began e-mailing. I hope I get to meet her in real life someday. Jourdan blogs over at  Stand Here By Me. After you read her amazing story you should hop on over to her blog. 
Since I was a child I knew that God called people in many different ways to serve Him where He desired. I knew His calling could be in the form of a teaching job, a desk job, or an overseas job. Both of my parents lived this out in their "normal" jobs, while I knew that I would be living overseas one day. I started going on international trips in 7th grade, and continued going for summers while in college, finally knowing I should do a little more long term. That is how I came to live in West Africa a little over a year ago. While I'll only live here until next summer, I know this is exactly where I'm supposed to be living for the time being, hard days and all.

I serve on a very small team here, with volunteers coming frequently. One HUGE lesson I've learned since living here is Flexibility. Each day brings a new adventure. I live in a very small town (think no grocery stores..one market..a small number of cars..huts) and it's hard to feel busy by American standards. I say this because a huge part of my job here is just to go and sit with the people. Go and visit and laugh and live life with them. Showing them Truth through my actions, with the intent of sharing stories (from the B!ble). We also teach a couple of English classes to the youth here. Living this style of life was hard for me when I first got here. I was used to constant movement for 12 hours a day. Then, life slowed WAY down, but it has been such a great lesson to learn. Sitting is the way you show love to the culture, how you show that you truly care for them. Just sitting and talking gets so many more things accomplished than going going going does here.
This type of life became easier once I truly grasped the beauty of the people and the culture. The people I live among are some of the most hospitable people I've ever met. Whether that is making sure I am constantly sitting in shade so I don't get burned or sharing meals. They are always ready to serve, and they serve with a genuine smile on their face. One my favorite activities to do with the women here is to cook one of my favorite meals, a chicken and onion dish. We will spend a couple of hours cooking, then everyone sits around a huge bowl to eat. Everyone shares one common bowl, and if we're being true to culture, they will eat with their hands.
Everyone here is so open to talk, but seeing fruit from work is difficult to see. The work is very slow here since culture and traditions are ingrained into their life in every aspect. Family life is huge here, and if you make a choice different from the family you fear isolation. This can be very discouraging at times, yet I hold on to the fact that if there was not a plan for these precious people, I would not be here. Even though I have not seen a huge work in the people around me, I have seen a huge work done in my heart. People joke and say that moving overseas you see the worst in you, but it's true! I used to think I was doing alright in life, then I realized how selfish and ugly my heart could be. I know I still have SO MUCH to learn, but I also know that I have grown so much from my time here.

That does not mean I do not miss good old America. If someone could just send a Sonic or an In-n-Out here, I would probably love them forever! Or just a sweet note..that works in the encouraging department just as well. I don't think people realize that friends overseas WANT to stay updated on the "mundane" in your life! People think we are living some huge adventure that we don't want to hear about your trip to the grocery store. But sometimes I get tired of the foreign and my life needs that!

Also, if people want to stay updated on the journey here, then feel free to e-mail me at jourdan.edmonds@gmail.com.
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Isn't hearing about God's work through Jourdan awesome? I think so! If you want to read some more about what God is doing in W. Africa I recommend the following:


Thanks so much Jourdan for sharing your story! 

7 comments :

  1. such an inspiring story! & the culture & community sounds so amazing! thanks for sharing!!

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  2. Thanks for reading! I get so excited every time I hear a story of missions. It always amazes me to see what God is doing world wide.

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  3. definitely! so neat how each story is ultimately about God's story, yet the details are so different!

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  4. Great missionary profile!

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  5. Thanks! Can't wait to share your story.

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