Insert Appropriate Title Here


I’m thrilled and scared to death to announce that I have the incredible privilege to travel with Compassion this May to Tanzania to see the work they are doing and meet some of the children and families in the community.

For those of you who know me and my nonpassporty, homebody, I hate airplanes and only travel if I can have a direct flight ways, this is shocking news.  It’s shocking to me.  I am still in shock. This is not something I ever dreamed of doing, this was something I was afraid that Shaun Groves would somehow, one day, for some random reason, find me and ask me to do and I can assure you I promptly told him “Absolutely not I am not flying halfway around the world, I am so sorry. NO” for about five weeks.  And last week I was in agony.  I had already told him NO.  Not for me.  Not me. Go Away. You should ask someone who actually wants to do this. Please don’t ever contact me again.  I am changing my phone number and email address. Never gonna happen.  No.

Castle Home Wear

(want to pin this on pinterest? great, please click over to the etsy shop first to pin from the source thanks so much!)

But, I simply could not stop thinking about Tanzania.  That was the agonizing part.  My dear husband put up with me talking about it nonstop.  He just smiled and encouraged me to not be afraid to take a risk but also not feel like I had to go.   I must have talked to my sister every day.  I cried. I was in misery, I curled up in the fetal position.  I couldn’t sleep. I shook {I’m shaking now}. I didn’t want to leave home.  I didn’t want to be away.  I hate travel.  I have never been away from my family for that long.  This is scary.  This is risky. What if I don’t do a good job writing?  What if they wish they hadn’t asked an introverted house blogger who writes about paint colors?

But all of those reasons piled together still didn’t seem like a good enough reason for me to say NO.  I didn’t like the reasons I was saying no.  And we talk about risk here and being afraid and I want to be a person that can Trust and not worry within that risk and fear.

If you were here last year you might remember me talking about the trip my sister took with Compassion and other bloggers to The Philipines.  Many of my (in)courage friends have gone in the past and for this trip, there are some amazing writers that I’m so honored to get to travel with, one of which is my dear friend, Maggie Whitley from Gussy Sews.


hand drawn chalkboard map via Dirtsa Studio

(to pin on pinterest, please click over to the etsy shop & pin directly from the source thank you!)

Our family sponsors two boys through Compassion, both a direct result of following bloggers who have gone on trips and written about the people they’ve met and stories they saw.  Many times I’ve read what these travelers have written on their trip and felt like I myself had been there.

I have still have so many pressing questions that keep me up at night like::

what if I lose my passport?

what if I get falsely accused and imprisoned while in another country?

what if I forget how to drive after being gone for 10 days?

what if this is a fake Shaun Groves and the real one has been kidnapped and this fake person is going to kidnap us all?

what if I have to poo while I’m in Africa?

But really I am so scared. This is the scariest most out of my comfort zone solar system, most unlike me thing I’ve ever done in my life.  And I don’t want to do it without you.  I want you to come with me here through the magical power of the internet.

Will you?

Compassion Bloggers: Tanzania 2012


  1. I’m thankful that you accepted even though it’s outside of your comfort zone. I can’t wait to read what you have to say. It’s always so interesting to me to follow the bloggers on the Compassion trips b/c God speaks to each of you differently. I understand where you are coming from-I have felt God calling me on a mission trip and have many of the same hold-ups-especially leaving my family that long.

    I did want to tell you that right after your post in my reader was Kat’s (Inspired to Action) that says “Great women aren’t made inside comfort zones.” I felt like God wanted you to hear that.

  2. Cindy Lynn says

    Congratulations Nester on this wonderful opportunity to minister to those in a land far away! I would also be in a panic, as I ‘don’t travel well’. I prefer the comforts of my routine & home…but when He calls…He calls! I know God will wrap His arms around you every step of the way!! I can’t wait to see how He uses you to touch so many! :) I will definitely lift you & your group up as you make your journey!

  3. melissa cable says

    I have been reading your blog for sometime and have never left a comment. But one of my dearest friends in the world was also chosen by Shaun to go on this exact trip and I have been rejoicing with her, and to read this, oh my goodness. What a dream trip! Not only the work you will be doing, but the friendships you will form (like my friend Kelli from FL!) will be incredible. Way to go saying YES!

  4. I am so with you!!!

  5. My sponsor child is in Tanzania. Maybe you will meet her and give her a real hug from me! How amazing. I am proud of your getting outside your nest! GO YOU!


  6. Kristine says

    Go Go Go Nester!! I am so very proud of you…I have TEARS in my eyes right now as I type! I am SO like you, homebody, etc…but God is going to use you and He has a specific purpose for you going. I can’t wait to read all about it!

  7. I guess then I shouldn’t tell you that in Africa they call toilets “long drops” – I shall leave the reason why to your very active imagination #EvilGiggle

    • Ya know. The bathroom thing hadn’t even crossed my mind until today. Now I have one more thing to think about in the middle of the might when I can’t sleep.

      Good times. ;-)

      • Oh.dear.Lord.

        I don’t know if I’m GLAD that I popped over to see this conversation or now adding something ELSE on my list of things. And I said popped…which is very close to pooped. My kids would be giggling hysterically at all the potty talk. :)

      • melissa cable says

        kelli- did you see my post above. I didn’t know you followed the nester and I commented about you here!

        • I did, Mel, and I got all teary eyed at your comment. Thank you for being my sweet friend both on AND offline. :) And thanks for your encouragement!

  8. Yes. With you.

  9. I would love to hear all about how you got connected with Compassion. What an amazing experience. I can totally relate to this post. In 2009 I left America for 11 months to do misison work around the world (one month was in Tanzania which is literally one of my most favorite places in the world). I cried, I did NOT want to leave home and I especially did not want to leave my family. I worried that I would die in a foreign country. I worried I would eat awful food and get sick. I worried everyone would hate me and I would be a sad, angry person for 11 months. I also worried about all of the awful places I would poo. And let me tell you, it was the most amazing experience of my life. God opened up my eyes to so much, grew my faith in Him and gave me lasting memories. That’s not to say I didn’t go poo in cockroach infested bathrooms and in outhouses that gave you splinters…or get sick from bad food…but I survived…and now I can use any bathroom imaginable (athough I prefer the one in my apartment!). I write too much…this is your blog not mine. :) If you want to chat sometime I’d love to!! I’ll pray for you!

  10. Yep. I hear you. Been there! And I go back there every time!! I’ve been out of the country on missions trips 4 times now.. I usually can’t say with honesty, “yeah, i’m excited about my trip!” beforehand. Cause I’d usually rather stay home!! But, it really is worth it and I’m glad you are going! Can’t wait to hear more. And I will pray. :)

  11. Virginia Mom says

    I spent a year in Africa in my early twenties, not as part of any volunteer organization, bu ton my own. To see it. I worked as a waitress in several restaurants and camped out in the forests and deserts all the way from Cape Town to the sub-Sahara. Despite medical precautions, I contracted malaria and suffered from other parasitic diseases. I also had several close encounters with very large, wild animals (not from the safety of a vehicle, either.) I learned what the business end of a rifle looks like and how it feels against one’s cheek. I am not trying to frighten you, but you should not deceive yourself: Africa is not Disneyland. That said, the beauty of Tanzania is breath-taking. Ngororo-ngoro Crater, the coast near Dar es Salaam, Zanzibar, the parks and waterfalls are some of the most beautiful on earth. Be cautious, be aware, and go see for yourself where life began.

  12. This will be an amazing opportunity! God will bless you and I know you will bless others in your travels. My daughter went with Compassion to Uganda and it was life changing. Jer. 29:11

  13. Oh!! Oh!! My Compassion child lives in Tanzania. Hugs from Texas!! Have a wonderful trip!!

  14. I am so excited to read about what God is going to do through you!!!

  15. I think this is awesome. It will be a life changer, I’m sure. I went to Haiti last summer and am dying to return, but Africa’s my next trip!

  16. You’ll be glad you did. :-)

  17. I’ve been going through some of the same stretching my limits challenges. Some self inflicted, like singing in the choir for the Christmas program. And others challenges sought me out, speaking in church this last month – I’ve had major issues with public speaking, but I’m glad I did it.
    Now I’m working on travel too. But, haven’t convinced myself to get on a plane. ;-) So, I’m going by boat. It is a lot more stressful than I think it should be, but I’m sure it will be a growing experience too.
    Good luck on your trip, I look forward to reading your posts, and I highly doubt that you’ll regret going (even if you do need a bathroom while you’re there).

  18. YES. I will go. I will cover you with prayer. I will read every word you write and cry with you and be scared and sad and hopeful with you. I am SO proud of you for saying yes. I can’t wait to see what you’re going to mean to those kids you meet. And what they’re going to mean to you.

  19. I was in Tanzania when I was called to become a physician! It is such a beautiful place, fertile and wild and as one who loves beauty it will completely blow your mind. I was on the shores of Lake Victoria doing medical clinics, and will never forget the smiles– Or the stoic, deep lines of suffering. It is a land of stunning contrast. I hope you get to the Serengeti, and to the crater. Mostly I hope you get to worship Christ with His followers there. That is a deep and rich privilege. I was invited into some kind homes. I won’t tell you the stories of the different bathroom encounters. I just won’t. Email me if you need any advice. I’d recommend getting permethrin spray, and soaking your clothes with it, then folding them into big ziplocs, squeezing the air out as you seal them. The permethrin will “marinate” them and you’ll repel mosquitoes better. Don’t swim in any body of water, including Lake Victoria, unless you are in a boat far from the shoreline (parasites in the snails are along all the shores). Don’t go barefoot, and wear sneakers over sandals. Like I said, feel free to email. Best wishes, and enjoy the adventure! I’m setting my next novel in sub-saharan Africa–I love it so.

  20. Oh my gosh good for you for facing your fears. I share many of those same fears so I know just how hard this is for you but good for you girl – you will not regret it I’m sure. I can’t wait to hear/read all about it on your blog.

  21. Melissa E. says

    I can’t wait!

  22. Sister,
    You. Will. Love. It. (The bathrooms and food can be rought, so maybe not always at the time, but definitely after the fact. Pretend you’re camping. ;)
    I’ve been to Africa twice for missions and it is an amazing, amazing place with amazing, amazing people. I’ve rewritten this comment like five times already and there is no way to describe it other than saying: God is faithful and he will not let you down, especially since he knows you’re taking a step out in faith! Woohoo! What an adventure! :D
    I’ll be praying for you. Take lots of photos! :D

  23. Nester, did you watch the recent 20/20 episode on Tanzania? You should watch it…

  24. It’s about trusting God, and leaning on Him. Long story short: I went with the middle school girls from our church on a mission trip to Mexico. (Outhouses, no running water, tarantulas, scorpions, eating local food prepared by generous-minded locals who have no where to wash their hands; no sanitation; and, scariest of all for me –middle school girls!! (I have only sons.) I learned to lean on God in ways that I never had before. When I returned, I ached to be that close to Him again!

  25. Karen Boreham says

    You rock my world.

  26. Laughed my butt off. You’re “stretching” out. All that agonizing, it must be some divine intervention. You are stronger than you think you are. I wish you the best of luck and a safe trip. We will pray for you.

  27. so proud of you and yes, i’ll go with you and i’m already praying for you…it’s gonna be great and yes, you will have to poo while you’re there but it’ll be ok.

  28. Oh Nester, I will be here hanging on your every word. And praying like crazy! :) God sometimes makes us uncomfortable when he wants us to do something, right?

  29. Reading this makes me want to cry!!! I will be praying for you sweet Nester and I’m so excited you said YES. : )

  30. Ever heard the phrase: “God doesn’t call the qualified. He qualifies the called”…? I’d say that applies here! ;) Just remember Philippians 4:13 “I can do all everything with the help of Christ who gives me the strength I need.” (NLT) When we remember it’s about HIM, not us, it makes it a whole lot easier! Sending prayers with you to Tanzania! (And thanks for the laughs.) :)

  31. Love your honesty here, Nester. And excited to “travel” along with you here.

  32. Wowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww! I am crying and shaking too!! You can do this and will be amazing as always! You go girl!!!!

  33. Yay! This is so exciting! Okay, when I was reading your post in my inbox, my daughter was sitting next to me and asking about the map of Africa in the graphic. She wants to meet our sponsor child in Ethiopia (or the other one in India–or both!). We were discussing this and then just two emails down I noticed an invitation to tour Ethiopia with Compassion to meet our sponsor child in November. I was so super excited until I found out you can only bring kids if they’re ten or older. (She’s five.) Maybe we’ll figure something else out instead . . . somehow. She’s been asking to meet these kids for a long time.
    Also, I really did laugh out loud at your fear that this is a fake Shaun Groves. Sorry!

  34. I’m SO with you. 100+%. Eager to hear your God stories from the trip.

  35. It’s often about the poop with me too. so proud of you. praying so hard for you.

  36. I’m so glad you are getting to go – and even more excited that you are going to Tanzania. I WILL DEFINITELY be following along as our sponsored child lives in Tanzania and my dream is to some day be able to go and meet her. Thank you for doing this. For listening to God. And your heart. And rising to the challenge. You will be blessed. And you will be a blessing. Thank you.

  37. I grew up in Congo – you will be fine. The people of Africa are truly amazing. Have a wonderful time!

  38. I’ve never left you a comment or my thoughts in all the times I’ve visited your blog but after reading this post I just had to wish you congratulations and to say “good for you!” Sometimes we need to attack our fears head-on and you are doing just that! You will be just fine! You are simply inspiring and I absolutely love everything you write about. You are “real” and you deserve this! Lesa

  39. Girl, I cannot believe you said yes but I just KNOW God is working through you and in you with this trip. Cannot wait to see what comes from this experience! And what a great group to travel with – that will surely help with the moments of not-so-greatness.

  40. What an experience this will be! Your boys will be so proud and amazed of their mom. The finest kind of role modeling I can think of.

  41. I first stepped out of my comfort zone 10 years ago when we moved to China. I went to change the world, or so I thought, and God totally rocked MY world and changed me forever. Can’t wait to see what He does through you on this journey.

  42. Michelle says

    TOTALLY THERE WITH YOU!!! YOU ARE AMAZING!!! Go share the wonderful you-ness that we all fell in love with, and they will too! Thank you so much for sharing this raw honesty, such a beautiful quality. Remember that God never gives us anything we can’t handle, you will be great. Enjoy the ride, and we will all be anxiously awaiting all the news you’ll have to share. Growing pains can be so…well, painful! But well worth it. Just look at you moving forward with faith! Awesome. Love to you.

  43. Ah, so happy for you. Definitely will be lifting you up in prayer, Have fun. Enjoy such a life-changing experience.

  44. Condo Blues says

    Congrats for going! I’m a seasoned traveler. Here’s a few answers to your questions. 1. You won’t lose your passport. If you are worried you can wear it in a neck pouch. Once you are there this thought will feel like a First World problem. 2. Stop watching Locked Up Abroad :) 3. Stop being silly. Did you forget how to paint after doing it? If you do forget how to drive, it’s the perfect excuse to get you to Chauffer you around town. Make sure he wears a uniform and you sit in the back seat. Husbands LOVE that! 4. Stop watching Locked Up Abroad, seriously. 5. Sorry to tell you this but you’ll have to poo and piddle in a hole in a ground. Don’t consider holding until you get home you’ll explode and the TSA will have a field day with The Lady That Poo-splooded In Line. Don’t be that gal! :)

  45. You can do this!!! Remember Esther? …..”for such a time as this”

  46. If you’re concerned about people Pinning improperly, you could always Embed your photo from Pinterest. That way, all the appropriate links will be attached to it. Simply bring up the picture in Pinterest and click on Embed on the right side of the screen. It’ll give you the HTML code to toss into your post.

  47. I am really, really proud and happy for you. I loved reading Emily’s posts about her trip to the Philippines–how can that have been almost a year ago? Your posts will be wonderful and they will be authentically YOURS, which will make them very special.

    I haven’t been around much lately. Reading this post makes me realize that I miss visiting with you here on a regular basis. This is a special place.

  48. I’m really looking forward to hearing about your trip! We have sponsored a little girl in Tanzania for the past few years and I would love to visit her someday!!

  49. Girlfriend – I am proud of you! All of those reasons that have you shaking in your britches are probably the very reasons God chose you for this. In your weakness He will be mighty. (But seriously, doesn’t God get it that us introverts would rather bake for a cookie drive or design a t-shirt or something??)

    I’m SO with you. I wish I could hop in your bag and join you!

  50. That’s awesome! I am so glad you’re going to be a voice for Compassion!

Speak Your Mind

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.