This post was written by WAGC volunteer and Africa mission team member Bethany Raudenbush. This is just a sample of the kind of info you’ll find in our upcoming Special Africa Report. Stay tuned for that!

When trying to write a summary of my experience for this report I found that I was at a loss for words. Not because I did not have anything to say about the trip but in fact, it was the opposite.

So many wonderful memories were made as we bonded as a team and were able to screen and distribute glasses to those in need and so many amazing people touched my heart that it seemed impossible to write it all down.

I kept starting and erasing sentences because they never seemed to begin to express how this trip opened the door for me to grow spiritually through worship and service, how it allowed me to further develop as an individual who is beginning the next chapter in her life (I just graduated with my doctorate in physical therapy and passed my licensure exam less than a week before we left for Africa), nor did the words seem to describe just how grateful I am to have been able to go on this trip.

So instead of focusing on the daunting task of getting all of those emotions and information written down into a small summary, I decided to focus on the part of the trip that seemed to stand out the most to me as I reflected: the people.

At the YWAM clinic in Zambia with a young girl who was so very happy to be able to see clearly after receiving her first pair of glasses.

At the YWAM clinic in Zambia with a young girl who was so very happy to be able to see clearly after receiving her first pair of glasses.

First are the people we were able to help. When I would look around the eyeglass clinics it would not be uncommon to see countless smiling faces, grateful hearts, and praises being given to the Lord. Many of the people who come to the clinic could not see the world around them and were not able to read the written word.

Children therefore fell behind in their studies and men and women had difficulty working and doing household chores.

However, when they receive their glasses and they look out into the distance and clearly see what they could never see before, you witness such gladness and appreciation on their faces. When they hold up the reading card and are able to read what was once impossible, you know that you have just changed this person’s life forever, but even more so, you know that they have changed yours.

With my new friend, Kenn, who was one of the many amazing people who worked with us at the Family Worship Center in Kenya.

With my new friend, Kenn, who was one of the many amazing people who worked with us at the Family Worship Center in Kenya.

Next are the people we were able to work with. This year’s clinics were organized slightly differently; since we came with a small team, we worked together with the nationals to put on the clinics instead of simply helping us to translate as needed.

This gave us the opportunity to work right alongside those in Zambia and Kenya and build a relationship with them. We worked together as we screened and provided eyeglasses to those in need and, in doing so, I made some truly good friends.

Finally, are the people I met and reconnected with who came together to make this year’s WAGC team. Carol, Tom, Carolyn, Bobby, Jan, and I came together to make one of the best mission teams that I have ever been a part of. During clinics we all came together, each offering up his or her own strengths, and were able to serve the Lord in fellowship.

As it is written in Romans chapter 12 beginning at verse 4, “Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so to it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other. In His grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well… If your gift is serving others, serve them well… And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.

Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them… Love each other with genuine affection and take delight in honoring each other. Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically… When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality… Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep.

The wonderful WAGC Africa 2016 Team; From Left to Right – Carol, Tom, Beth, Jan, Carolyn, Bobby

The wonderful WAGC Africa 2016 Team; From Left to Right – Carol, Tom, Beth, Jan, Carolyn, Bobby

Live in harmony with each other… Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.”  In serving our brothers and sisters in Christ in both Zambia and Kenya we lived by the words written in Romans chapter 12.

Together we bonded as we laughed, cried, prayed, and joked both in and out of the clinic. We became a family on this trip and I am so grateful for each and every one of the great team members that made up the WAGC Africa 2016 team. Thank you.

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