Africa's Impact

February 20, 2014

Africa's Impact

Written by Ashley

Not many Americans can say they grew up in Africa, but Jessica can. I sat down with “missionary kid,” Jessica, daughter of Scott and Lee, who grew up in Cameroon. I knew bits and pieces of her story, but wanted to know more. As a woman with a fairly normal upbringing here in America, I was very curious as to what it was like growing up in Africa and how it has impacted her life here in America. You will enjoy learning about her life just as I did!

Jessica spent the majority of her childhood in Cameroon, besides a few years she spent in the United States due to her parents’ furloughs. “Growing up in Cameroon was so great,” said Jessica. “Each year I had a different instructor come to Cameroon to teach me and the other kids. It was so cool to have someone different come pour into my life each year.”

Jessica said that her high school was without a doubt the best thing that has ever happened to her. She attended an international dchool in Yaoundé, Cameroon. The friendships she made played the biggest part in that. “We truly appreciated our education and experiences. It was nice to play sports at a school where it wasn’t solely about competing, but having fun. More emphasis was placed on our spiritual growth, which I was so grateful for,” said Jessica. Those four years allowed her to build a strong spiritual foundation before coming to America.

“I always knew that I would leave Cameroon when it was time for me to go to college,” said Jessica. “I knew I would move to America and go to LSU.” Due to her unique upbringing, Jessica was skeptical of Louisiana State University because of its large size and intense football passion. She equated LSU with a football school and was less than excited to move away from her friends and from all she knew to attend school there. “I had to be ready because I knew it was time to grow up, but that didn’t make leaving any easier. Leaving was the hardest thing I’ve ever done,” said Jessica.

She moved to Baton Rouge, Louisiana in the summer of 2012. Fortunately, her parents were on furlough and were able to move with her. Jessica mentioned that having their support was huge. “They were my connection to Africa,” she said. Among a difficult transition, she began her freshman year of college as an engineering major in the fall of 2012. She was extremely thankful for a good relationship with her roommate and the benefit of meeting people while living in the dorm.

“I truly began to get plugged in when I joined a community group with The Chapel on the Campus’s college ministry, The Refuge. I wanted my relationships to go beyond once a week. I longed for deep friendships,” said Jessica. She decided to join the Refuge Leadership team the following spring. That is when those deep relationships began to blossom. The spring semester proved itself to be much better than the fall. She had classes with previous classmates in the same major as her. “When I began to recognize people in my engineering classes, we got to know each other better and started doing homework together and having study parties. It was great to have people to relate to again,” said Jessica.

The summer of 2013 came with a new hardship, one she had never experienced before. Her parents moved back to Cameroon. Jessica knew it was time for them to go back, but it was hard for her not to be selfish. “It was my first time being an ocean apart from them,” she said. “I had never had to sacrifice anything for them to be on the field. This was the first time I had to give up something for what they did.” Despite the extremely difficult separation, one of the hardest she’s had yet, she knew that Africa was where the Lord wanted them to be.

Africa's Impact

Jessica is now a sophomore at LSU. She says her second year has been a lot better than the first. Baton Rouge is becoming easier to call “home.” Jessica said, “I found my place in America this year. My friendships are getting better and I love leading a Refuge bible study!” Being there for freshman girls was a desire placed on her heart by God. “I remember my time in that position and I can help them with theirs,” she said. “I still miss Africa so much, but it doesn’t hurt anymore. It’s a healthy separation.”

Jessica wants to use her degree to minister to unreached people groups and to serve God, wherever that may be. She has always wanted to be on the field also; however, after taking the Perspectives course, she received a new viewpoint on her career choice. “I wanted to be on the field or live overseas to serve God because that was what was comfortable for me,” said Jessica. “Now I want to be on the field not because of comfort, but solely because I want to serve God and see unreached people groups serve Him.”

It is easy to see that Africa has a big piece of Jessica’s heart and it will always. “The experiences that I had growing up in Cameroon impacted me and what I believe the Lord has for my life more than I ever dreamed.”

Return to Blog Listings

Post a Comment

You can help MCWA by supporting recruitment, training, sending and other daily operation costs as well as current team members.

Make a Donation