For some of you, my story is very familiar, yet for others, this beautiful journey may be foreign as well as my name. My name is rather irrelevant in this story, so as I begin to paint this picture for you, please see that this is not at all about me and bear with me through the whole story. It is a bit lengthy, but I did not want you to miss the beauty of grace as I answer the call Christ has given all His followers:
"Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. An remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age."
-Jesus, Matthew 28:19-20
A little over three years ago: my life ambitions revolved around me and all the ways I could make myself great. But, my heart was radically changed like never before as God gave me a new love for people especially children and a passion to become a medical missionary in Africa. (Side note to all those of you that did not know me at this point - until this happened, I was VERY materialistic and loved big city life). Needless to say, God had plans for me that was in the complete opposite direction of my plans. Prior, I was headed to the city of Los Angeles filled with lights and buildings, and now I was running full speed ahead to get to Africa with dirt villages and endemic animals.
This change obviously was not instant or always easy. Life as I had always known was changing and I was learning more and more every day. Each stage of this journey is unique in the role it plays in fitting the pieces of the puzzle together. I literally could write a book of the various successes and failures that lead up to this next journey, but to avoid getting lost in the little pieces, I will keep it short.
You see as a part of becoming a medical missionary, I have been pursuing a biology/ pre-med degree in hopes to graduate college a year early and go straight to medical school then eventually Africa as a medical missionary. Since God put the desire in my heart to become a medical missionary, I was on the fast track to becoming a doctor and doing everything I could to get there in the shortest amount of time. I crammed four years of college into three and took any free time I ever had to use it to make me more competitive for medical school (shadowing, doing research, volunteering, etc). I have never doubted that God called me to serve in a third world country by providing health to children. Yet, all this time I NEVER prayed for God to show me how to get there, rather I had been praying for God to bless my plans.
So, this previous summer rolled around. I was taking ten hours of online classes, working full time in a research laboratory, amongst other extra circular activities all the while studying for the medical college admissions test (MCAT). My plan was to submit my medical school application at the end of the summer after taking the MCAT in July. Needless to say, my plans completely crumbled underneath me at the beginning of the fall semester. I had no chance of getting into medical school with my MCAT score, and I had no time to take it again before the application deadlines. So, there I was completely broken by the pride and work I had put into MY plans.
But this is where the beauty of grace really shines:
I began to seek God's will for my life since as a follower Christ it seemed to be my only option left. Finally, Christmas break rolled around, and I had found out about a one year medical masters program at MC in Jackson. So, I took a road trip to Jackson and met a bunch of awesome people and checked out the program. It seemed like the right choice, but I did not want to be set on anything without having complete confirmation from God. I returned home and began to pray like crazy over the break. The break ended and all I had heard from God was I needed to be baptized. As a Christ follower, baptism is a public profession of one's complete surrender to Christ. In my heart, I had surrendered, but it is very biblical and pivotal to make it known through baptism.
Still unsure of what to do with the year I had in between graduation and hopefully attending medical school, I started back school and made arrangement to follow in believers baptism by being baptized on January 16.
The night of my baptism God showed me just how awesome His plan for me has been all this time. When I met with my assistant pastor to go over the nights events, he began to tell me about the works going on through the orphan care center in Lobatse, Botswana. I started crying as soon as he started talking, because God was saying this is what I want you to do Kaitlyn.
With my plans, I would be serving in Africa eight years from now, but through God's blessing and perfect timing I will be moving there in July! Botswana is home to more children orphaned by AIDS than any other country in the world. Some 93,000 children have lost at least one parent, and many are infected from birth. For the first two months, I will be working in the present orphanage care center. Then I will be paired up with Rachel Thibadeux, which God had allowed our paths to cross over Christmas break while checking out the medical masters program (coincidence I think NOT), and we will began opening a new orphan care center in another part in Botswana.
Through these orphan care centers and God's blessing, we will be: providing health/food to the malnourished, sharing the Gospel, teaching skills, and making disciples of all nations. I ask above all for your prayers as Rachel and I finish up our final semester of college and prepare to leave the lives we have known to move to another country. I ask for your prayers for the people in Botswana and the mission work being done there, and I just ask for your continual prayer that Christ alone will lead us in every decision made along this journey.
Through the awesome support from the reclaimed project, $6,000 has been raised of the $9,000 I will need during my year in Africa, and I am beyond grateful for their support! This means only 3,000 dollars are left to raise, and I am confident God will provide a way for that last 3,000. If you feel lead to support this mission, I ask you to pray that God would lead you in the right direction whether that means partnering with us in prayer or a monetary donation. Every penny will help, but prayer goes a lot farther than any number of pennies.
Pure and undefiled religion before our God and Father is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself unstained by the world. - James 1:27
I am not extraordinary, and I do not possess any special talents. Rather, I serve an awesome and powerful God that makes all things possible.
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