To Align My Heart with the Heart of God
Written by Anna Eichhorn, Director of Development & 2016 Trip Member
The excitement is building as our teams plan and prepare for our upcoming journey to Nigeria. As I sit here thinking about what brought me to this point, I realize there are many people and circumstances that all converged to bring me to this place. The most significant is my desire to work with a Christian nonprofit and on a global scale, which is exactly what Access to Success does.
From the first day I started working with Andrew and A2S, I knew that it was critical to my role that I go to Nigeria and meet these amazing children, volunteers and staff. This trip was originally about being prepared for the work I do with A2S, but as time went by, I felt a longing to meet and interact with the people we serve in Nigeria. I know I take for granted some of the conveniences we, in the United States, expect as part of our daily lives. When we are hungry, we stop by any corner drive thru and pick up a snack or meal; in fact many times I meet with people over lunch to talk about A2S. This is not the case in Nigeria, where some children have nothing to eat during the day until they show up mid-afternoon to our After School Academy. We throw away so much food here without a second thought. That must seem so strange to the people we will be meeting and fellowshipping with in just a few short weeks.
Education in Nigeria is another thing I have learned a great deal about in the past six months. Our kids are either out of school for the summer or are getting ready to end for this school year very soon. They are so happy for their freedom from teachers and homework, but most importantly, getting up early each day. For the children in Nigeria, not everyone is blessed to have the resources to pay for the uniforms, books, and supplies needed to attend the local public school. When they do attend, the classroom sizes are huge, sometimes 70-100 children in a classroom. They look forward to the After School Academy so they can get more individualized assistance with their work and focus more on English, math and computers. We will be visiting some local classrooms, and I look forward to comparing the contrasts between our classrooms and theirs. I am sure it will be an unbelievable difference.
Faith and trust in God will be another area I think there will be sharp contrasts between the cultures. In this area, I feel the U.S. will be the culture lacking some very important spiritual activities and truths. When you must depend on God every day to help you care for your children, your faith must be solid and strong. We have ourselves to depend on in our culture, and we do that pretty well. God is reserved for Sundays for most of us, and maybe during times of stress and trial. Not so in Nigeria, for the Christians in that culture, God is in the center of their families and lives. Their worship service is one of the highlights I am looking forward to experiencing on our trip. We are told to be prepared to sing and dance with joy… How Jesus must delight in pure hearts worshiping Him with their entire selves!
As I prepare to lead the second team this year, I have been looking for ways to make this experience memorable for each team members. I want us all to expand our understanding of the Nigerian culture, see and do new things, and grow as human beings as we love on the people we encounter. Either at the IDP Camp, Basketball and Empowerment Camps, Summer Bible Camp, or the orphanage, my goal is to learn from the people we encounter and to better align my heart to the heart of God.
Ezekiel 36:26 says, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.”