“What’s next?”

The ultimate question. I know I’m not the only one who’s gotten this question roughly half a million times; I’m not the only one graduating in a month and a half. I used to dodge it like my life depended on it, but for almost a year now I feel like I don’t have to anymore. I may not have a permanent answer, but I definitely have an immediate one. And the coolest part is that I’ve been preparing for this without even knowing it for a while. His plan, not mine.

On June 8th, I’m deploying to a small village in west Uganda for two months. After a lengthy application process and a heap ton of prayer (“heap ton” = a lot. Raised by a southern woman.), World Harvest Mission offered me an intern position with their team in Bundibugyo (http://www.whm.org/). I’m spending the summer with some seriously awesome people halfway around the world. There’s a secondary boarding school in the village run by long-term missionaries, so I’ll be all-hands-on-deck for anything they need me for. That could be running programming after school, cooking in the kitchen, or playing with kids that never want to stop playing. I also could be helping out with the newborns in the local clinic. Wherever I’m needed, I’ll help. And in the meantime, I’ll be mentored and taught by the missionaries there.

Bundibugyo

When I tell people about this, the biggest question I get is “Why on earth, Ashland. Seriously, why.” And I can hardly blame them because this seems like the world’s biggest, most inopportune detour. I’ve been given so much to look forward to in the career world, and I cannot wait to jump into that. I really can’t, I promise. But sometimes your heart speaks louder than your head and you have to put life on hold for a little bit. Especially when Africa’s been nagging you for a year and a half. I’ve been waiting for the Lord to give me an opportunity, and He’s done it. So I’m going. And I can’t wait to tell everyone about it.

That being said, I can’t get there on my own – World Harvest requires their interns to raise the support needed to complete the internship. I need to raise $4,775 by the end of May to cover the internship; and this is where I graciously ask for your help to get me there. Chances are that letters and emails will be coming your way if they haven’t already, but I wanted to post a way to donate online as well. If you’re able, just head on over to my personal WHM donation page: http://www.whm.org/give/missionary?ID=26051 and fill out the donation information to participate in this really cool experience. If you prefer writing a check, please let me know and I’ll be MORE than happy to explain how that works.

I can’t put into words how thankful I am for each and every person encouraging and supporting me financially, emotionally, or spiritually. Regarding life in general and regarding this experience. There have been countless teachers, family members, family friends and even employers who have pushed me to do this. I’m going because God wants to teach me and show me things I can’t learn here, He’s made that crystal clear.  The people of Bundi are in His hands; and I’m just excited to play a part in His plan for them. I could honestly talk about this for hours, so please don’t hesitate to reach out if you want to know more! In the meantime, thank you thank you thank you for your donations and your prayers. Of course, those prayers are requested in every way imaginable. 

Life’s about to get real, y’all. AND I’M SO EXCITED.

All my love (seriously, all of it),

Ashland

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