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What Can I Say About IMMERSION?

MARCH 2018

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by Andy Nicoletti Andy was a member of the 6-month Africa IMMERSION team in 2017 and is currently helping lead the 2018 IMMERSION teams in Africa.

Months after I returned from my 6-month Africa IMMERSION term, I am reminded of my first day.

I flew from Colorado to Chicago. It was the middle of winter and all I had was two backpacks and excitement. I had been anticipating and waiting for my journey for months. I had Facebook messaged my whole team, read all the blogs, watched all the videos—I was ready. It had been 7 months of anticipation that all culminated in one moment.

Then I missed my flight. I missed it by two minutes. My connection in Chicago to Fort Wayne left at 12pm and arrived at the gate at 11:52am, two minutes after the doors shut for good. That was the beginning of my life-changing journey.

I still remember my time in New York City, the late nights and early mornings. The constant busyness and noise. I remember playing cards and signs; I remember subways and getting lost in them. I remember the joy and struggle of growing, of seeing God work in the little things. A child, a smile, the movie La La Land. Trips to the bookstore. God was up to something.

I remember my time in South Africa. During that time I gained 20 pounds. I played soccer during the day and watched cricket and rugby by night. I stayed up late in prayer and got up early in prayer. My heart began to change. I cannot describe to you what happened, but I think I began to see God.

Africa Mission Trips

I remember my time in Lesotho. The host stay, the farm. Beans, beans, beans. We picked them for days. I remember getting sick and staying up in my room all night. I remember Drew coming in and telling me that Sean told everyone I died the previous night. I remember I got up on a Sunday morning expecting to go to church, and I ended up pushing, walking, pulling, and wheelbarrowing a sheep halfway across the village. This sheep did not want to go anywhere without its flock.

Africa Mission Trips

I remember Namibia. The surging seas, the coffee shops. I remember the desert. The bus rides and struggles. I remember walking the town every day and meeting people who soon became friends. I also remember my weekends. The host family with a passion to feed me tell I overflowed. I remember the army cots and the unexpected relationships formed.

Africa Mission Trips

That fateful first day, just trying to get to our team training in Indiana, the man at the flight deck counter was kind enough to book me another flight for that evening. What was supposed to be a 10-hour travel day turned into an 18-hour adventure. I arrived exhausted and head spinning in Fort Wayne that night.

Six months later, I arrived speechless on a quiet summer’s night, once again in Fort Wayne. The sky was a shade of blue I hadn’t seen in months as the sun was beginning to set. The lightning bugs and mosquitos fluttered around. Everything was a deep hue of Indiana green, a stark contrast from winters in Namibia.

I wish words could describe the heart change I experienced in these countries and the work that God has done. The people I met, the relationships I built—my life will never be the same.

What can I say about IMMERSION? Go.

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