Brace yourself: a long but important post is coming. Many of you have been following this blog for years and years, and I want to share this with you because it’s the next step in my life.
This blog once contained a lot more UCT (University of Cape Town)-related posts, but after the third year there aren’t really many new things to talk about, so they haven’t been as prolific lately as they used to be. This one isn’t about UCT, per se, but it is about what I’ve been studying and why.
Towards the end of high school in 2010, I allowed myself to dream big and think, “What do I actually want to do with my life?” Two things popped up that had been there for a while, chilling in my subconscious: a heart surgeon and a writer. The last thing I ever wanted to do was to be a missionary like my parents. The thing is, when your parents do something, you have no romantic illusions about it. You’ve seen the reality, and it’s not always a bed of roses. No profession is, but it’s easy to harbor romantic ideas about a profession you haven’t seen first hand. By the time I finished high school, I had been turned down for medical school at UCT but accepted for a BSc (Bachelor of Science), which meant that I could do some of the med school courses and transition over at some stage. I was all set to become a doctor.
But then, literally the morning after I finished my high school diploma, I went with my parents on yet another month-long missions trip. Going on these trips is nothing new for me. Throughout my childhood and my life with my parents, I never went more than 8 months before traveling somewhere, and often for 3 months at a time. I feel more at home on the Heathrow, Schiphol, Addis Abiba Bole, and many other airports, than I care to divulge. I feel as at home on an airplane as I do in the UCT library, if that gives you any idea.
On this particular trip, I was going to help my mom, who is the Director of Promotions at The Word for the World Bible Translators, to take photos and videos so that she would have ample promotions material for a while. I remember the exact moment when I knew, quite suddenly and unexpectedly, that this was it. The Calling. The Passion. The Life. I was sitting in the back of the room where, looking for good photo opportunities, when suddenly the thought ran across my mind: I can’t believe people get to do this for a living. And when you think something like that, you can’t just ignore it. You can’t just go back to Cape Town and start studying in a totally different direction. The change of mind was so absolute, and so complete, that it seemed idiotic and unbelievable to me that I’d ever considered anything else.
And that, my friends, is how it came to be that I’ve spent 5 years at UCT studying Linguistics, Classical Greek, and Hebrew (though Greek is the only one I’ve studied for all 5 years). Unfortunately, I had to spend quite a lot of time convincing myself that I was where I was supposed to be, because the inspiration of the moment inevitably gives way to, “What the hell was I thinking?” I wish I could go back to my first year self and tell myself to stop worrying, stop being anxious, and just trust myself and more importantly, trust God. In any case, the point of this post is that I am finally finishing up my postgrad degree in Classical Greek, and as of the end of January, I will be throwing myself into the work of TWFTW.
It’s exciting to be on the threshold of your dream, and of what you believe you’re supposed to be doing, but it’s also terrifying. As I know all too well, the sweet joy of the life I’m about to enter, the life I grew up knowing, is also fraught with difficulty, frequent financial hardship, and, to an extent, isolation. The simple truth is that when you’re out of the country you “live” in for a month at a time several times a year, it’s difficult to get involved in local things, to be married, to have a family, to consistently keep up with your friends and family. To be “normal”. Moreover, it is difficult for people to relate to you and your life, and this can be isolating as well.
However, I firmly believe that as long as you’re doing what you’re meant to be doing in life, you will have the strength to live. I also believe that God gives us what we need to come through every hour, every day, every month, every year.
All of that said, I’m incredibly excited to be involved with TWFTW. Through the work they do, people who have never had a Bible in their own language before are able to have one. Can you imagine what that feels like? After a lifetime of having to read it in a language that you might know but that isn’t your language, that isn’t your mother tongue…finally, finally you hold it in your hands, and suddenly you realize that God speaks your language. That is breathtaking. And that’s what makes it all worth it. That’s what I want to help achieve.
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And thank you, all of you, for following along all this time.