Ten years ago today I landed in Burundi and my life changed forever.
I was 19 and when an email landed in my inbox 8 months earlier inviting me to go on the trip, I jumped at the chance. But when it came to zipping up my suitcase the night before, I was terrified and very grumpy because of it.
I sat on my bed listening to iTunes, trying to calm myself down. ‘Climb Every Mountain’ from the Sound of Music came on.
Climb every mountain
Search high and low
Follow every highway
Every path you know.
I knew I had to go on this adventure. Was I scared? Yes. Was God going ahead of me? Absolutely.
It was on that trip that I first said yes to exploring a call to ordination. I started the trip to Burundi writing in my journal ‘I’m not getting ordained. I don’t care who suggests it, it’s not happening’.
By the end of that transformative two weeks, full of colour and light and faith and hospitality and generosity and courage like I had never seen before, my resolve wavered. A lady said ‘the church needs women like you and me in it’ and I knew for me, that meant ordination.
Fine God, I’ll think about it, I said.
It’s ten years to the day since we landed in Burundi, and what a decade! So many twists and turns, so many mountains and so many breathtaking views! Finishing my degree, my year as a chaplaincy assistant in London, going to Durham, meeting and marrying Nathan, moving to Liverpool, getting ordained, getting my MA, becoming a Vicar, becoming a Mum. I’m so grateful to God for every step.
But what about the next decade? I’ve been doing some more discerning recently, thinking about those mountains again. What does it mean to climb every one? The song goes on to say that you climb every mountain until you find your dream.
A dream that will need all the love you can give, every day of your life for as long as you live.
I stand by that, I aim for that. Most days I fall short, but I think it’s the bedrock of my calling. Jesus calls each of us to love, to love Him and to love each other. I’m not very good at this vicar stuff, really. I’m often tired and grumpy and put things off that I shouldn’t. But with God’s help, He pours love into me that I can give to others. I’m a pretty poor channel most of the time, but He is God and He can use anyone and everyone for His glory.
I wonder what mountains will have been climbed in another 10 years. I don’t know where I’ll be or what the world will be like by then, but I’m up for the adventure.