Camping With Lions

I asked God where I was to go from here. His answer, "I want you righ there. This is my will."
By: Leesa Fletcher


G'day, my name is Leesa Fletcher. I'm from Sydney, Australia. Almost a year ago I found myself on a plane, flying to a small school named Maxwell Adventist Academy, which is located near Nairobi, Kenya. I'm here for the school year of 2004 - 2005 as the Assistant Girls' Dean.

I had never intended to come here, especially since I wanted to finish my college course. I figured I would be much wiser by the time I got my degree. Once I graduated with my friends, then I would be fully prepared to give my time to volunteer service (or so I thought). However, God had other plans. He needed to teach me a few things. This couldn't wait until graduation.

Through some providential circumstances and helpful sponsors from Avondale College, I was able to purchase a ticket, and before I knew it, I was flying further from the 'Land-down-under' than I had ever been.

Getting used to Maxwell was a huge challenge. It wasn't just because of my weird accent. I was going through major culture-shock. To make matters worse my roommate hadn't arrived because she was sick, and then the dean took maternity leave. In what seemed like no time I was feeling totally alone and very clueless. I spent many nights crying alone in my house. Why had God called me here when clearly I was doing such a bad job? However, that hard time of learning and adjustment did pass. Through it all I learned to rely more on God than my feelings.

Every experience here, good and bad, has taught me something. What a privilege it is to look after my fifty ‘daughters’ in the dorm at Maxwell! We have been through hard and scary times together. There have been panic attacks, emergency hospital visits, homesickness and depression. One night a student heard evil spirits ‘coming for her.’ We spent many hours praying with that student. Even though I couldn't see them, I know that God's angels were guarding us.

We have also shared good times together! Where else in the world would you and your friends camp with lions, or see the sunrise from the top of Mt Kenya?
I am constantly inspired by how much zest the students here have for life. They never seem to run out of energy, even with constant studying (which is more than I ever did, even at College). There is always something happening, such as a basketball game, a surprise party, or a waterfight (the favourite campus activity). I feel energized just being with these wonderful teens.

Not only do I enjoy the students' presence in my life, but I feel God's presence with me constantly. The missionary volunteers take weekly trips to town. Before leaving campus we pray for God's protection. On one trip we were late getting back, and we had to drive along a dark road in our old van, which was making strange sounds. I had visions of being robbed, or worse, our vehicle breaking down in that dark place. Eventually we made it back to Maxwell and parked the van without incident, but guess what? The next morning, as soon as the van was started, the power steering literally fell out! Hello! I'm basically clueless about mechanical things but from what I know, if that part of the van had failed while driving, we would certainly have been stranded. This was not the only time that God preserved us while driving on country roads or in the dangerous Nairobi traffic. Often the brakes of the school vehicle have squealed as we avoided near-collision only by a second. I can not credit these events to circumstance. I know that God sent his angels to ride with us on that dark night, and on every turn of those pot-holed roads.

One sunny afternoon I walked along the road inside Maxwell's front gate and asked God what His will was for my life. Where was I to go from here? As I admired the distant mountains surrounding the campus the impression I received in my heart was simply this: 'I want you right here. This is my will.' It seems that sometimes it is impossible to look forward to an uncertain future. You may feel like giving up, but God wants you. He wants you right here. I may have spent nights crying and wondering what I was doing here; how could God possibly use me? But God shone through my showers of tears with a rainbow of joy.

Leesa Fletcher, from Australia, is a volunteer at Maxwell Adventist Academy in Kenya. She represents Avondale College.

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