Day 2 -- Dealing With the Unknown

En-route to a mission trip in Africa, Katie knows more mysteries than facts

  • by Katie Croft
Photo by Katie Croft

Editor’s Note: This is the second of 10 entries from writer Katie Croft.  

Day 2

Shortly after takeoff on my 8-hour flight from Chicago to Spain -- en route to Africa -- reality began to set in.

I tried to fight it off and sleep but I was unsuccessful. One can only contort their body in so many ways.

Our trip details had changed significantly in the 3 weeks prior to departure. At the last minute, switching countries from Equatorial Guinea to Cameroon made us scurry to get newly-required visas.

I had heard that things in Africa operate very differently than what I am accustomed to. I have no category for ministry or life in Africa. But, as a wise friend of mine said, just because something is unfamiliar doesn’t mean it is bad. It’s just different.

I hope to embrace that philosophy over the next 2 weeks of uncertainty.


What Did I Get Myself Into?


I really have no idea what I am getting myself into for the next 2 weeks. I am not by nature a high-control person, but I have found myself needing to give my uncertainties to the Lord -- often.

Typically I am prepared, know what is needed and have planned ahead. This time I threw everything in my small forest green Eddie Bauer suitcase and zipped it closed. I had packed according to a list but still had the nagging feeling that I was forgetting something.

Usually I can get whatever I need when I get there, but that would not be true on this trip.

My mind started to think about all of the unknowns. I wondered:

  • What do they eat?
  • How will I communicate if I cannot speak the languages?
  • Did I pack the right clothes?
  • What if I get sick?
  • Did I leave the ceiling fan on in my bedroom at home?


Becoming a Learner of Something New


Finally, I began to settle down. I tuned into the in-flight movie and set my brain on cruise control. There was nothing more I could do but relax and hope for the best.

The African population is one aspect of the world that I am largely unfamiliar with. I wonder what life looks like for the tribes who live without electricity or running water.

Even in my moments of anxiety I am eager to see life done differently. I am anxious to see human characteristics transcend place and culture.