What I think about going to Africa.

on May 14, 2014 in Mocha Club with 16 comments by

bluemochaRight now, I have a load of clothes in the washer, a load in the dryer, and I’ve got two more to go.

I’m doing what you’ve probably already done this spring- switching out fall/winter clothes for spring/summer clothes, giving away the pieces that I don’t want anymore, packing away what I won’t need until October.

Except for a few of my favorite wintery things.

Next week, in Kenya, the high is 77 degrees and the low is 55 degrees. So a few long-sleeved items will be going along with us for the trip.

. . . . .

I have lots of feelings about next week, about this trip with Mocha Club that will give us all a front row seat to the amazing things going on at New Dawn and the updates to classrooms that YOU GUYS made possible.

Mostly, I’m beyond excited.

But I’m also a little afraid. Timid. Worried.

I’m not afraid of Africa. I’m not worried for my safety of my health. We are in very good hands and a relatively safe environment.

(I’m going to get super open with you here, because I want you know what I’m feeling and processing.)

I don’t feel very pretty in Africa. I’ve been there twice before, and I always feel uncomfortable and a little out sorts. I work hard here at home to fight the lies I hear in my head about my looks and how God made me. I cling to truth and do the things I’ve learned to do to hear God louder than my insecurities. For some reason, when I’m out of my element, out of my systems and schedules, my confidence goes down the tubes.

The challenge in Kenya is that our photographer and videographer will be at every turn, capturing the best (and maybe worst) moments of our trip.

So I will fight the lies in my head during the day, then sit down at night, write about the day right here on the blog, and have to edit and use the pictures and videos from that very day.

I’m scared I’ll feel ugly every day and worried that I will care more about myself than the people I’m there to meet and serve and love and be with.

. . . . .

I know. That’s so selfish and gross.

But it’s where I am and the battle I am feeling.

I cannot wait to see the school. I can’t wait to partner with Nish and teach a few writing workshops to the high schoolers. Lindsay and Jessi are teaching an art class in which I will hopefully be a student. Marisa is leading the trip, and she’s also my first and longest standing Nashville friend, so having a bestie with you is never a bad thing, and the same goes for our video guy, Adam. I love him to pieces. (You remember Adam, right? We had a contest at Sweet Cece’s a few years ago.) And I can’t wait to watch Lizzie, the reader who got a spot on the trip because she donated towards the Purpose Project, see the very thing she helped build.

Other feelings?

I’m excited. I’m proud of us. I’m stressed about getting packed- especially since I’m headed to speak in Spring, Texas this weekend– and making sure I don’t forget anything but also don’t bring too much (which is such a possibility). And I’m asking God to do big things- in me, through us, around us, TO us.

Will you pray for our team, for me, for the students at New Dawn?

And tune in next week… ready or not, we’re going to Kenya, y’all.


  1. Jennifer Adams
    posted on May 14, 2014 at 6:41 AM  |  reply

    Annie, I can definitely relate to your fears. I struggle with the same problem. It’s hard enough to keep my insecurities in check when I’m in my comfort zone. Take me out of the familiar, and the struggle is even stronger. Praying that God’s love for you speaks louder than your fears and insecurities. You are beautiful and God is doing beautiful things in you here and abroad. I can’t wait to read all about the trip!

  2. posted on May 14, 2014 at 7:45 AM  |  reply

    Your honesty is beautiful. Keep looking up to the Truth and you will remember how beautiful you really are.
    I wish I was going to Africa with you!
    I’d love to learn more about this group.

    Remember you’re a rock star. He says so.
    So do we.

  3. Pam
    posted on May 14, 2014 at 9:18 AM  |  reply

    Oh, Annie, I will pray that HE will allow you to see yourself through HIS lens. A lens that sees you in this way, “You are altogether beautiful, my love; there is no flaw in you.” (Song of Solomon 4:7) I pray that when you see those pics and videos you will see your heart shining through.

    The scribes and Pharisees in Matthew 23 thought they had it all together and worked hard to keep up a facade on the outside, but on the inside their hearts were not right. You, my dear, have a most beautiful heart that overrides what you think is not right on the outside. That is what everyone who is around you or those of us who only know you through this blog space or your Heavenly Father sees. The same God who has worked miracles for New Dawn can also work a miracle in you and allow you to see yourself on this trip through HIS eyes!

    Have a glorious, graceful & blessed trip! My son is in Ethiopia (next door to Kenya) right now sharing the love of JESUS with orphan children. God bless Africa!!!

  4. April
    posted on May 14, 2014 at 10:06 AM  |  reply

    I felt the same.exact.way when we did a medical mission to Uganda in December. I felt ugly in every picture. We are going back in August and I find those same fears creeping in again.

  5. Ginny
    posted on May 14, 2014 at 10:20 AM  |  reply

    I understand what you mean by being beyond excited but feeling afraid timid and worried at the same time. This seems to be a normal feeling for anyone going over seas whether it is for a couple of weeks or a couple of years. I am going to Ireland for three and a half months in the fall so I know what you mean about having mixed feelings.

    You are beautiful!!! Inside and out!!! And I know that with Gods help you can defeat these thoughts and uncertainties. Have a great trip. I’ll be praying for you!

  6. Heather
    posted on May 14, 2014 at 10:55 AM  |  reply

    You’re beautiful inside and out. Know how I know? ‘Cause HE made you! Praying for you!

  7. penny
    posted on May 14, 2014 at 11:24 AM  |  reply

    hi I struggle everyday with image and its hard to not listen to them lies but I have learned that If you pray god will show you that you are fearfully and wonderfully made.

  8. Sharon
    posted on May 14, 2014 at 9:07 PM  |  reply

    Thank you so much for your honesty.

  9. Stone
    posted on May 15, 2014 at 1:46 AM  |  reply

    Oh Annie,

    I totally feel you there, I struggle with that too. So often while working in ministry I did my best to duck out of pictures and avoid our videographer because as much as I battled my insecurities daily I couldn’t handle seeing myself on film and I hated it because it destructed me from the ministry and my sweet campers and co-leaders had no pictures to remember me by because of my insecurities. They saw me as beautiful just as I was.
    Anyways I just want you to know that I understand and I will be joining with so many others I’m sure in praying for you and your team during this amazing trip. God, your Father and loving Papa has such good things in store for you in this trip and in this very struggle. There is something Be wants to show you, to give you that you couldn’t recieve at any other time.
    Praying for peace and rest and abundant blessings over you now and over each and every moment of your trip.
    You speak with such authentic truth, light and love and His love, truth and beauty shines so brightly through you!
    Blessings and joy over you,

  10. Ida Pahus
    posted on May 15, 2014 at 5:04 AM  |  reply

    Annie have an awesome trip. You are so amazing no matter what!

  11. KR
    posted on May 15, 2014 at 8:09 AM  |  reply

    Thank you for sharing your (very normal!) fears. I’m sorry. I know how you feel. We are beautiful, though, regardless of how we feel. I will pray for this trip to be different in this regard.

  12. penny
    posted on May 15, 2014 at 6:41 PM  |  reply

    hi Annie I was wondering if you remember me from point of grace this is penny I tried the nail tips you gave me lol and it really did work well thanks-penny

  13. Annie Barnett
    posted on May 15, 2014 at 11:53 PM  |  reply

    Praying for your trip, Annie. I hear you here, I do. Praying all that honest wrestling gives way to all God’s strength filling up every insecurity, every weakness, that as you’re brought low in serving and laying down every burden, God would lift your eyes to the hills. You are so beautiful, friend. Thanks for keeping it real, always. xoxo

  14. posted on May 16, 2014 at 11:14 PM  |  reply

    I love your honesty. When I was in the Dominican Republic last fall, I hated the way that I felt – sweaty and un-beautiful. Imagine my chagrin when I found out that my brother’s friend had seen me in a DOCUMENTARY – one that I have yet to see, but apparently included footage of me in the DR. Awesome.

    You are always beautiful, though, and I’m excited to hear about your trip. Love you to the moon (AND Kenya).

  15. posted on May 18, 2014 at 10:00 PM  |  reply

    So good to know that I’m not the only one who feels that way whenever I’m out of my territory. Thank you for your honesty, Annie. 🙂 I pray that you have the best time in Kenya!

    PS. I’ve been a reader for so long and realized I never commented and this is the first time. Time to change that habit HA.

  16. posted on May 21, 2014 at 6:07 PM  |  reply

    Once again your honesty is just plain amazing. I have struggled with similar issues. When I have to use photos of myself for my blog I become so critical. Who am I to question his creation? I will be praying for you and your fellow travelers.

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