Student Stories:  LeeAnn Farish

Student Stories:  LeeAnn Farish

Class of 2011

Africa…what a simple and short word to describe such a vast continent and half of my heart. It feels like decades ago that I was there, and even longer since I began dreaming of going. I must age myself and admit that it has been 15 years since I first dreamed of traveling to Africa to work with orphans in Jesus’ name. There was something about the idea of traveling to a faraway land, living among the “least of these” and sacrificing all modern conveniences that was irresistible to me, even as a second grader. My thoughts were consumed for years by this desire to travel to Africa in Jesus’ name. After what I now laughingly remember as a “difficult” high school career, I was all too ready to run away and serve my Lord in the land of my dreams. However, my sometimes-too-wise-for-his-own-good grandfather somehow tactfully convinced me to continue my education, graduate college and then chase my dreams in Africa. Not that I am counting, but as I am writing this, I am proud to say it is less than 30 days until my college graduation and I returned from Africa just a few short weeks ago. As an early graduation present, my sometimes-too-wise-for-his-own-good grandfather whom I spoke of earlier paid for me to go on a short-term mission trip with his church, First Baptist of Kerrville, and an organization out of Cameroon, Bread For Life. While there, I witnessed 531 people accept Christ as their Lord and Savior, I spoke in government schools about the power of abstinence, the consequences of abortion, and I daily danced and sang with my many “pikins,” who would walk by our hotel on their way home from school. I learned while in Africa that it isn’t about giving up conveniences, “helping the least of these” or even traveling somewhere out of your comfort zone; instead, it is about drawing closer to the heart of God and living among a people who even in the worst of circumstances hope, sing and dance for the Lord. The Cameroonian peoples’ smiles and joyful spirits were contagious and nearly impossible to leave. I regretfully say that I am back in America, back to the routine of schoolwork, and again I find my thoughts are consumed by an overwhelming desire to travel to Africa in Jesus’ name. I was generously blessed by this experience, and I’m hoping soon to be able to again find the Lord in the land of my dreams and together we will sing and dance with His beautiful “pikins.”