During our Leadership Training School we were encouraged to set time aside to analyse, think and pray things through. To properly plan all (as much as we could) the details of our projects. And of course hold the plans loosely as things always change. But plan nonetheless, plan! As failure to plan is a sure indicator of permanent failure!
Part of my planing (for the School of TB) included gathering as much information as possible regarding different like-minded schools. To get very familiar with the WHO DOTS program (a TB course for health providers), gain understanding of the village health volunteer program in PNG, and, learn as much as possible from YWAM’s School of Malaria (SoM).
The SoM is a very specific school that empowers students to recognize, diagnose, treat and prevent Malaria. Like a possible future School of Tuberculosis (SoTB), this school would be very narrow in it’s scope of practice, in the students it attracts, in who can teach and lead the school as well as their actual scope of practice in the field. For all those reasons, I decided that I definitely should learn from the SoM! Their pioneering efforts, their successes, challenges, limitations and so forth.
I researched on our international database and found two locations that had previously offered the SoM. One in Brazil and one in Africa. I contacted friends in the Healthcare Faculty and received 2 email addresses, with the preface… “it might not be very helpful, none of them speak English!”
No worries, I thought, I do know a few more languages… I sent out a bilingual email and received an answer in French from Sandra, a Brazilian lady leading the school in Senegal.
She explained the school really well, I was satisfied with all her answers and the curriculum she sent me. She was actually helpful to equip me to pioneer the school here in Townsville, if I so desired. So I explained my ulterior motives for asking… I told her about my desire to pioneer a SoTB… She instantly loved the idea, expressed that such a school would also be a need in Africa. And she then invited me to join them on outreach, which was happening a month from then.
I played with the idea for half a second… long enough to say how cool would that be..!? And pretty much instantly I thought “No way! This isn’t happening, it’s Africa, crazy far away, way too expensive, I’m way too busy, I won’t get time off, I’d much rather have a holiday…” What I then called facts and reason, I can now clearly call unbelief.
For 2 weeks I tried to politely decline the invitation. I would have sat down at my computer or taken my phone to reply at least 5 times and never managed to find the peace to decline. Last week on Monday I decided I had enough! I was going to answer once and for all! “It’s not honouring to keep avoiding the issue, just reply and politely decline, Sandra needs an answer, it’s been two weeks!” I sat down at my desk and started typing away… 15 minutes flew by. I couldn’t do it! I turned to my oversight, and explained the situation… She told me to stop being stupid, and to pray about it. Such wisdom!
Later that day I knew I should go to Africa! To be honest, deep down I knew all along, but was afraid of the consequences! We talked things through, my sense of faith for it, and I filled out my leave request. Two days later, my leave was approved, I then booked my ticket and saw the travel doctor! Three vaccines later (including the Yellow Fever one) I am now ready-ish to fly to Africa!
I usually don’t do this, but I am still needing to see ~$3000 to cover my upcoming credit card bill! This is really unexpected and much more expensive than my usual living cost, if you have it on your heart to partner with me on this journey, you can donate here.