A Little Hyperventilation. But Just a Little.

Thankfully, through the grace of God, your prayers, and my preoccupying list of things to accomplish in the next 12 days, I’m not panicking too much about crossing an ocean in under two weeks. 

But I’d be lying if I said that the moments of pure freak-out don’t come every once in a while.  (It’s a good thing I don’t put too much stock in fortune cookies, by the way, because last week I actually had one tell me "Sometimes it’s better to travel with hope than to arrive."  Oh really?  I’m actually rather fond of arriving, myself.)

Friday night I was working on filling out a family tree chart I bought last week.  Hubs needed some help with a different project, but I couldn’t pull myself away from the family tree.

"Does that really need to be done now?" he asked.

"Do you REALIZE that in exactly two weeks I could be plummeting into the Atlantic ocean in a fireball, and HOW would our children ever know who their great-great-great grandmother was?"

It’s hard to argue with that kind of logic.

I spent a mopey evening after that, in a what-am-I-thinking meltdown of tears and nerves and specific instructions for Hubs about how to raise the children without me.  I made him Google-map the American embassy in Kampala, and he did it–with a straight face, even.  You can imagine that he loves it when we spend an evening communicating intimately about my irrational, whacked-out fears. 

But wouldn’t you know it?  After such a weepy dose of anxiety Friday night, I found my in-box full of random encouragement from some readers on Saturday.  One sweet woman sent me the words to this song.  Another sent me the link to some encouraging Ugandan missionary blogs.  Still another told me all the ways she had been praying for me–and it was all the ways I needed. 

It completely blessed my socks off. 

In fact, so many of you have asked, I thought I’d share some specific prayer requests with those of you who are pray-ers.  I can’t tell you how much it means to our whole team.

  • Of course, please pray for our team’s safety and health, and for our families back in the U.S.
  • Pray for no technical issues!  It’s important that we are able to live-blog this whole trip, in order to effectively communicate with our readers back at home.  I’m praying those high-speed internet lines will be glitch-free for us.
  • This is the biggie:  Please pray that hearts will be softened among all our readers to sponsor a child through Compassion.  I’ll have more details on this as the time goes along, but these children desperately need more of us to get involved.

You might also want to pray for patience for Sophie, who is sitting next to me on the plane and will have to hold the paper bag I’m hyperventilating into for the 22-hour flight.  I’m kidding.  Sort of.

Thank you so much.  Your prayers mean so much to all of us.

54 thoughts on “A Little Hyperventilation. But Just a Little.

  1. Missy says:

    We are praying and are so excited for you to arrive in Africa 🙂 and see God do amazing things through you and your gifts!

  2. Melissa Markham says:

    I am so in awe of what you are doing! I know you have had scary thought moments and will have more, but remember you are in the hand of God and what better place is there to be than that! May God bless you and the rest of the bloggers and keep you safe and healthy and on the Internet Super Highway!

  3. kelly says:

    I have been reading about your upcoming trip. I am so excited for all of you. I have been blessed to have traveled to Africa for business in the past. It is one place that I much desire to revisit. For the long plane ride be sure to take your own snacks. The attendants like to rest during the flight and the service will be extremely limited. Those bite size candy bars are the best. Also, drop plenty of gum in your suitcase. I know that God will watch over all of you. Try to be open to new experiences, because you WILL come back with a different outlook on life.

  4. Amber says:

    I will absolutely be praying for you, and Sophie. I can’t wait to hear what God is doing in that part of Africa. A good friend just returned from Zambia and we are beginning an Ethiopian adoption next month!!! So Africa is important to us over here. 🙂

  5. Brenda says:

    Best wishes to you, you are covered in prayer and thank you for allowing God to use your voice to speak to the rest of us – I look forward to reading the messages he sends through you!

  6. Julie says:

    I can so relate to everything you are feeling. You are so brave for sharing it with us and for GOING! I can’t wait to hear about your trip. Know that you are covered in prayer by so many.

  7. mom2fur says:

    You’ll do great! I went to Europe twice many years ago. (A much shorter flight, of course.) The coolest thing is looking at your watch and seeing it’s about 2 a.m.–and then looking out the window and seeing a brilliant sky!
    Now, listen, here’s an idea. Actually, it comes from a friend who went to Australia (from New York), so of course she was going in the opposite direction that you are going. But it might work for you. Don’t hesitate to ask your doctor for some Ambien or Lunesta. My friend said she took it at one point…and woke up 8 hours later with only about an hour until they arrived ‘down under.’ God put good medicine on this earth for just such an occasion, and with such a huge flight I’m sure you’d love to nod off for a few hours! Of course, if you start snoring…don’t tell Sophie this was my idea!

  8. Melanie says:

    In all seriousness, I am praying for all of you already.
    On another note, I pray that no one wears white or any other color that attracts biting insects, and if they do, they don’t sit next to you or Sophie in the jeep. :>)

  9. Owlhaven says:

    Praying you have a wonderful trip! Africa isn’t nearly as scary as it seems when you’re contemplating your first trip there….
    Mary, hoping to visit Ethiopia at least a couple more times in my life…

  10. kimberly says:

    I’m just so thrilled for your opportunity and adventure. Jealous, too. I always panic just a tad before a trip…forcing hubby into discussions about who will raise our children and making sure the dishes are done before I go…Anyway, for genealogy try this website http://www.ancestry.com

  11. Headless Mom says:

    I may have mentioned before that Headless Girl wants to be a medical missionary to Sudan? Anyway, we are praying for your team, for your anxieties, and for an amazing move of the Spirit. She is anxious to read all about the trip-could you post a list of all of your compadres before the trip so I can bookmark them all to read while you’re there? Thanks!

  12. pam says:

    Good thing I am “without fear”, because it is a bit daunting to follow “Headless mom” and her “Headless Girl” who wants to be a missionary — not frightening at all . . .
    Shannon, I am praying for you today and every other moment God puts your sweet face on my heart, for all the details and for Him to wipe away your fear with the palm of His gentle hand. He holds you there and will cradle you through your most anxious moments.
    I pray that you can thoroughly enjoy your time in Africa, knowing the God of the Universe ordained this trip for you before you ever took your first breath! Sending a hug!

  13. Jean Stockdale says:

    Thanks for sharing with such transparency about your fear and your faith. Most Christians want to give the appearance of total victory regardless of the circumstances. I appreciate your willingness to be real! I have been praying for you and Sophie and I will continue to “hold the ropes.” I believe the trip is going to be life-changing for you and for those of us who faithfully read your blog. Thank you for being willing to stand firm in your faith with the full armor of God on, despite the fact you are afraid. God will give the victory. Blessings.

  14. Mary@notbefore7 says:

    Shannon, you all will be in my prayers. It has blessed me from the moment you wrote your first post to travel this journey “with you” as you prepare.
    I was reading the book of Amos and thought of your original post immediately as I read Amos 6:3-6. You are accepting the call to leave your comforts and be changed. God bless you as you do the work He has set out for you to do in Africa, and even as you return, changed.
    I linked to your original in my post: http://notbefore7.blogspot.com/2008/01/amos.html Hope that is OK.

  15. Nic says:

    Blessed your socks off… what a great phrase!
    I will pray. And since I’m Europe, I’ll pray you through the early morning (except of course while you actually are in Africa, then we’ll be more around the same time zone).

  16. Genni says:

    I’ve been praying for you all. It helps to have specifics like this upon which to focus.
    (The first Bible verse I ever learned was Psalm 56:3. God in His infinite wisdom knew that I would need it for the rest of my life. I don’t think He would mind if we shared it.)

  17. Mommy Cracked says:

    Still praying here and I can’t wait to read your posts when you get there. I’ve also been praying about sponsoring a child through Compassion. I’m feeling really moved to do it, but just want to make sure. Wishing you nothing but the absolute best of everything God has in store for you in Africa.

  18. Renee says:

    Praying your journey zooms by and you’ll be hitting terra ferma in no time at all. What a terrific opportunity of a lifetime ahead of you! Can’t wait to hear about it all when you return. God Bless you all!

  19. Bethany says:

    I’m actually a Compassion sponsor already of a little girl named Leya from Uganda so I’ll be watching your and Sophie’s blogs extra closely in the new few weeks. It’s been amazing to hear from Leya and watch her grow through the past 6 years. I’d encourage anyone to do it! My prayers go with you!

  20. Patty says:

    You will have a wonderful trip! Just take a deep breath and relax. I have to admit I am somewhat jealous that you are going, it sounds like a wonderful adventure, and a great experience.

  21. Jen says:

    I will be remembering you in my prayers, and I am very interested in sponsoring a child, so I will look forward to your blogs! We have wanted to do this for some time, and put it off, you know how that is. 🙂 Have a wonderful adventure!

  22. Ann @ Holy Experience says:

    Your daughter, a mama, is flying. She’s scared. Of the flying, of the fledglings at home, of, You know, all the what-ifs. Help her to still in the flap of it all. And in the quiet to hear You. The one who always Whispers (is that why you make us slow down?) And let her hear You in the din: “Remember my name? Peace. I planned this whole thing. All is well.” Our prayers mingle with yours, Jesus, who never ceases to make intercession for us… In Jesus name…. Amen.
    I am praying, Shannon. Peace, the Person, goes with you. Just hold on tight to His hand. Soar, girl, soar!
    I send love…
    All’s grace,

  23. Tom says:

    You should know that your fears are not irrational, so don’t be so quick to beat up on yourself.
    Your fears are legitimate. Lots of things could happen, this is true.
    But lots of things could happen anywhere, including where you are right now.
    Fortunately you are a child of God, and He is with you no matter what. And He will provide the way, and will take care of you and your family no matter what lies ahead.
    He asks only that we trust in Him, and He will do all the rest.
    We’re all praying for you.

  24. Christi says:

    Continuing to cover you with prayers, and am encouraging others to do so as well! I am in awe of the great things that God is doing through our connection through these unseen wires online!

  25. MooBeeMa says:

    You are so brave! I also have a little girl in Uganda through Compassion but I won’t ever see her because I’m too afraid to fly. I will be praying for your amazing trip. It is so much easier for me to have FAITH FOR YOU!!

  26. Kim says:

    The bathroom at the American embassy in Kampala is the NICEST bathroom in all of Uganda. And I should know, since I’ve been in all of them. 🙂
    Actually the embassy is outside the city and if you go there, make sure and check out the artisan booths along the road around it. That’s one of the places you can get some cool stuff to bring home.

  27. Antique Mommy says:

    As long as all you’re doing into the bag Sophie is holding is hyperventilating, it will be O.K.
    Doubt I could have composed that sentence “worse-er” if I tried.

  28. Mich says:

    Never in a million years would I have dreamed that YOU would be going to Africa! I am so, so excited for you. You are going to be the COOLEST mom on the block for at least a year or two. Would love to hear how the kids are describing where their mom is going – they are going to want to take YOU to show and tell! Shannon it is going to be the trip of a live time. God is going to hold your hand the entire time and bless you throughly for going. Every single person I have known that has gone to Africa has been forever changed (and yes I do know more than one, HA HA). I have a feeling that your live will never be the same, that you will see everything from a different perspective. I am excited for you and anxious to see how you challenge all of us after your trip.
    You know I will be praying for you,
    sweet delta sister.
    We are all so very, very proud!!

  29. PJ says:

    I’m still green with envy! You’ll be so in awe of everything you won’t have time to be afraid!!! Just take a deep breath and…you’ll be there!!! 🙂

  30. Gego says:

    Mother worry. Yup. Been there when I left my crew for an incredible, life-changing trip to Israel. I missed my family terribly, but soon realized, after having a taste of OUZO (YUK) in Athens, grilled goat in the Gaza, listening to bombs in Lebanon, walking the plains of Armeggedon, seeing the Golden Gates at sunset, being baptised in the River Jordan and arriving home safely, that I was the sparrow. He held me in His hand and I knew it, felt it, and was blessed.
    May the peace of all understanding, the comfort of His blessings, and the security that all is HIS, give you the continued mission to do His will. Love you bunches, Gego

  31. Misty says:

    I have no idea what to do. I have been sitting here for the last hour trying to email you and it won’t work… I have no idea how, but on the link list for the giveaway, it goes to the wrong post. It goes to an early december post but that isn’t (at all) what I put…
    I feel completely tacking commenting here about this, but the email doesn’t work… It’s a bad day…
    Anyway, do I need to change it? If so, how. I think my number is 232 (Misty)… the correct link should be http://mistywagner.blogspot.com/2008/01/my-first-give-away.html

  32. mod*mom says:

    you’re so good at describing. thank you for representing all the compassionate hearts 🙂
    you’re shining your special light on them

  33. Susan says:

    You will be sooo supported by prayer on this trip – as everyone checks in each day and prays for you at their computer. What a day we live in.
    But I don’t know that I’d count on Sophie holdin’ that bag. According to her blog, she may be in a medically induced coma!
    Best of Wishes and Prayers for a calm journey!

  34. Alice says:

    My sister-in-law is a medical missionary and travels all over the world. She will be the first to tell you that God is the only one that has made this possible as she is a complete germaphobe and control freak (not easy when you are traveling to places like Myanmar and Ethiopia).
    Anyway, I remember the first time she went to Africa she had some of the same fears as you….and she really held on to Psalm 91.
    Psalm 91:
    He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadows of the Almighty.
    I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”
    Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence.
    He will cover you with his feathers and under his winges you will find refuge;
    his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
    You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day,
    Nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday.
    A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you.
    You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked.
    If you make the Most High your dwelling- even the Lord, who is my refuge-
    Then no harm will befall you, no diaster will come near your tent.
    For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways;
    They will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike a foot against a stone.
    You will tread upon the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent.
    “Because he loves me”, says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him for he acknowledges my name. He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation. ”

  35. Dena says:

    I laughed out loud when I read about you doing your family tree. I spent the week before we left for China scanning in hundreds of photos from my kids baby days, and creating Shutterfly books for each year of their life, b/c I was, you know, about to die.
    I survived, as will you, I’m just sure of it!
    In my prayers.

  36. Holly says:

    Some of our very good friends are missionaries in Uganda. I know it is a big place but those who are white stand out. So, if you see a beautiful tall white woman with blonde hair named Pamela or a 6 foot 4 male named Kevin you can tell them Holly said to look out for them and to say hi. Hope that this trip is the trip of a lifetime for you and that your heart is touched by the people of Africa. Be ready for it to be tugged into. Holly

  37. jenny says:

    Although i do not know you we have put your trip and your team in our prayers. My brother spent several summers doing Mission work Uganda and his best friends are Missionaries there today. One of the men, Adam Langford, was killed in an auto accident in uganda last year. His brother Ben and his wife Kym and thier boys are still there finishing thier 5 year commitment. All that to say that uganda, its people and the mission of Christ there is close to our hearts. Choosing to go has been a huge testiment to your faith and know that God will keep you safe on your journey. I can’t wait to read the posts after you return!

  38. Beloved Mama says:

    You are so blessed to be going to Africa!!! My hearts desire is to get over there one day…I married the son of a preacher man and missionary to Nairobi, Kenya…I’ve heard the stories and seen the pictures…I hope to get over there one day soon…You and your team will be in my prayers…can’t wait to read about your travels!

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