Packing and Panic

Only two more nights in my own bed, before I’m off to Africa! This past week has flown by so fast. Monday, I got a dramatic hair cut (12 inches off!). Tuesday, my brother had his first basketball game. Wednesday, I had a Literature class and youth group. Today, I indulged in first-world culture with Season 2 of Sherlock and packed my bags.

Speaking of packing, I’ve learned a few things about what to pack over the years. As long as I can remember, I’ve always been making my own packing lists and packing my own bags. Over the last few years, I’ve had some unique packing situations – having to pack all carry-on for a weeklong trip to Idaho, packing for a month in Europe in one suitcase, fitting 40 granola bars and everything else in a single backpack for Costa Rica, and now packing for Africa.

A few tips I’ve gathered along the way:

– Roll your clothes or lay them flat to optimize space

– Bring one less outfit than you “think” you need

– Extra books will rarely be regretted (unless you have to carry them on your back)

– Power bars can sustain you for weeks… not really… but they actually taste a lot better than people give them credit for

– BB Creams are the miracle make-up product

– Find shoes that go with everything and are super comfortable (if I could, I would only bring Chacos to Liberia)

– Set out your journal first, or you’ll probably forget it, and you’ll miss it a lot

– Taking daily garlic pills will keep the mosquitos away–no joke (ok, that’s not really a packing tip)


Last night, I stayed up way too late, but I wanted to make a list of my fears for this trip. I managed to narrow my many concerns into four main fears. On one side of an index card, I wrote the fear; on the other side, I wrote Scripture to combat that fear. I want to share those fears and Scripture with you. It’s vulnerability time! 🙂

I am worried about getting sick or hurt.

“Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.” (Psalms 55:22)

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7)

“And we know that in all things, God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

I am worried about being tired and weak after traveling and long days.

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (Romans 12:9)

“Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles, they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” (Isaiah 40:30-31)

I am scared to have panic attacks while I’m there.

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. ” (2 Timothy 1:7)

“See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who relies on it will never be stricken with panic.” (Isaiah 28:16)

I am scared about not leading effectively, not being able to relate, or being unable to understand the accent.

“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you; you are mine.” (Isaiah 43:1)

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)

– – Phebe


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