I am currently a student at Mississippi College. I run on both the cross country and track team and dance for fun in my free time. One of my favorite hobbies is photography and video editing. I began taking and making videos in high school with my church & have since made several videos for mission organizations in different countries.
I'm not one to stand out in a crowd. Raised in the Bible belt with wonderful God-fearing parents, I've been able to answer the Catechism questions since birth. I "prayed the prayer" at 7, was baptized at 10, and attended a few church conferences in junior high and high school. However, the one thing that some might call crazy is my desire to be a missionary.
In kindergarten, for career dress up days, I'd proudly wear a Kenyan shirt-turned-dress and a turban over my hair. I was a missionary. Why not? Go on adventures. Live in the jungle. Get dirty. Speak a cool language. Meet new people. It all seemed pretty exciting to me. In my junior year of high school, God began to open my eyes and heart to desire a more intimate relationship with Him. As I searched the Truth I had taken for granted all my life, I began to see the importance God places on sharing the Gospel and restoring relationships with Him. Today, I am a college student using the resources around me to make that dream come true- though my idea of a missionary has slightly changed.
In June, I began praying about going over-seas, specifically to Africa. A family friend who had recently returned from Uganda with her family, began praying & counseling me as I explored the possibilities of overseas missions. As I prayed for an opportunity to serve, God daily brought up Psalm 37. Verse 3 says, “Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.” Over the years, God has taught me that the excitement of serving Him wears off at times. You lose passion. It gets difficult. Frustrations & weariness boil over the sides. But we must continue to be apart of the people around us. We must remain faithful, whether in Africa, at school, or an office downtown.
Months later, I find myself living in the bush of Africa in Bundibugyo, Uganda, through an internship with World Harvest Missions (WHM).WHM is working in Uganda to testify by word and deed to the Gospel of God’s grace to Ugandans. They do this through building relationships, community health/outreach, medical care, nutrition programs, education, agriculture and mobilizing laborers for the harvest. I personally work with Michael and Lesley Stevens, two of several long-term missionaries in Bundibugyo. My main responsibility is to help Lesley by taking care of their 2-year-old son, Finch. Life proves to be difficult and tiring in the bush. The smallest activities drain you, so childcare becomes a blessing. Along with my nanny duties, I also help disciple girls at Christ School Bundibugyo, a boarding secondary school established by WHM in 1998 to provide quality education and discipleship to local students. Through chapel, Bible study, and lots of soccer, I am privileged to love and disciple young girls as they mature into womanhood and in their relationships with Christ. Of course, between these everyday responsibilities, I have explored the jungle and mountains surrounding this valley, battled flesh-eating ants, climbed a few waterfalls, and eaten unidentifiable intestines. (Ok, so there are some pretty awesome moments in missionary life.)
God has taught me so much over the past few months. He has put me in uncomfortable situations that threw me back into His arms. He has brought people to point me the right way. He has strengthened me amidst the breaking moments. He has fought the battles that I can’t see. The mission field has proved to be a microwave for sin, & in the bush, there are not many places to "escape". The road bumps of everyday living have taught me to grab onto the sturdy handle of God and abide in Him for strength, patience, love, and joy.
Pslam 37:4 has been an important verse and prayer for me this past year. “Delight yourself in the Lord, & He will give you the desires of your heart.” The Hebrew word for desire in verse 4 is `anag, meaning to be soft, be delicate, be dainty. I imagine a plucked flower. It is limp, relaxed, at rest in one's hand. If I can be like this flower & be “limp” in God’s hand then He can move me. He can pick me up & plant me wherever He wants. He can take His desires & turn them into my desires. If I am “limp,” I am not resisting His work in my life, therefore I am at rest and in peace and satisfied with my Gardener’s work. That has become this Hart’s desire: to be satisfied with my Gardener. To find every ounce of my fulfillment in Him. Nothing else will satisfy. Nothing else will fulfill.
If you would like to read more stories of my adventures in Africa & this Hart's transformation, check out my blog: ahartsdesire.wordpress.com.
Short term missionary in Bundibugyo, Uganda
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