ok so, i’m wrapping my head around this…

Tonight we had a meeting of the Southern team – Jen, Katie, myself, and Jonathan. I got to meet K & J and catch up with Jen…she answered a lot of our random questions like “is it offensive to not finish a meal?” or “is it ok to wear tank tops?” It was good. It’s starting to feel real. We’re leaving in approx 4 days. it’s happening. I’m going to Africa. that feels weird to say…

 

Some more tidbits:
~ Those of you worriers out there – 1) please don’t worry. Just give it to God…he’s in control anyway. (plus I appreciate all the prayers I can get!)  2) to calm your worries somewhat: Except for the first 7 days we’re there, I will have a male present with me at all times. 3) to calm your worries more: the house we are renting & staying in the majority of my time there is in Cotonou (the biggest city in Benin) in a gated community that you have to have a key to in order to enter.
~ a comfort to me: Jen is mostly vegetarian…so I will have a partner in turning down sketchy meat. I have every intention of turning down sketchy meat btw.  
~ a SUPER RAD thing i learned tonight: our friend Sarah Mac organized Tuesday & Thursday prayer meetings for us from now until we return. God is so good. I am so thankful to have so much support at home while we are away. (if you live in Tallahassee & would like to join the prayer group, they meet at E3 @ 5:30 T & TH.)

~ Need batteries, rain boots, travel pillow, queen sheets, and for my passport/Visa/yellow fever card to come in the mail!!!

Getting Excited you guys!!!

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I feel like the 23rd of June has been a LONG time coming. I’ve talked about, prayed, and fundraised for this trip for going on 2 years. Here it is. I leave in 6 days. It is becoming a reality.

Over the past couple of weeks…and especially the past few days, I have been showered in blessings and covered in prayer. It is SUCH an encouragement, and a humbling thought to know that so many people, those I know deeply and those whose names I barely have learned, are praying for me, for Unseen Stories, and for the work we will do in Benin. There has been a pull in my heart towards Africa since I was a middle schooler…and it has only gotten stronger in the past several years. Despite some who do not think I should go…and after all that God has done and shown me in the pst couple of weeks, I have NO doubts that I am in His will for my life, and that He has big plans for the Beninese people. I am excited to see it all come to fruition.

I would like to share with you something that my friend Kaitlyn (who is already in Benin finishing up translations for our film we will be screening) wrote last week:

June 8
“Dear Fans of Love and Justice,

I wish that my sunglasses had lenses on them that were directly linked to your TV or laptop so you could see exactly what I’m seeing in Benin every day.

At the very height of being overwhelmed by different things to get done for this summer, I saw a news broadcast on TV that showed two children who had been rescued that day (Wednesday) from a trafficking situation. The cameras panned the scars on the boy’s back and the scars on the girl’s arm. It was disgusting. The beatings were severe. Their faces are etched in my memory. What made it all seem so urgent was that it was being reported on the nightly news, as if it were a car accident, a common occurrence. My sense of purpose was renewed and from somewhere the sense of urgency I felt to change these things translated into immediate action. We do not have time to sit around and wait for someone else to stop child trafficking. This is a real emergency. The only appropriate response is immediate action.”

 

This is something I journal’d last week…
Over the past couple of weeks, God is DAILY reassuring me not only of the need for and importance of what Unseen Stories is doing in Benin, but of His desire and calling for me to be a vessel in West Africa this summer. 

 

Not only am I so blessed in the grand scheme of things…and so blessed to be given this opportunity. But God has tenderly taken care of my emotional and physical needs day by day as next weeks departure approaches. whether it was providing a connection to a pediatrician for malaria prescription, providing reassurance through encouragement and gifts from friends and loved ones, working in hearts of 8th graders to give their savings accounts to something bigger than themselves, prayers from people I don’t even know, or the sweet giving hearts and artwork of 1st graders in my community. He has totally floored me. I am ready.

 

Some tidbits you might be interested in knowing:
– my flight leaves from Tallahassee, FL on Tuesday the 23rd at 5:30 am. I return to FL on July 20th. 
– On the way there…we have a 12 hour layover in NYC, AND in Casablanca, Morocco. So that could be some fun times! 
– It is 5 hours later in Benin than EST, USA. (so it’s 2pm when I’m writing this, and it’s 7pm there currently)
–  The city of Cotonou, (where we fly into) is right on the coast, yay!
– I will be working and traveling with Unseen Stories southern team. 
– I’m in the process of watching a 5-hour documentary on Benin filmed by a former peace corps volunteer who lived there. It’s very interesting and I’m learning a lot about the culture. (Thanks, Marsha! I am mailing it to you later this week!) I’m hoping that many things I come upon there will make sense after watching it. 
If you would like to be added to my email list while I am gone…please shoot me a line and let me know! -> allisonrwhite@gmail.com 

 

In other news…I’m currently in Tallahassee where the highs this week reach 102. I was just sitting on my sisters back porch which is completely covered and screened in, and I was sweating bullets. I am now remembering why Tallahassee is called “one of the nations sweatiest cities.”

Talk soon! ❤