Interview: Missionary in Tanzania

It's been quite a while since I've posted an interview, but there is a certain someone that I have been wanting to introduce on this blog for awhile now. Danielle MacDonald is a dear friend whom I have only met once. We met almost two years ago at Muskoka Woods when we were both serving as interns on a CBOQ winter camp for youth. Since then, we have kept in touch via e-mail and facebook.

She is an inspiring young woman who is fearless and full of the Holy Spirit. The Lord has brought her to Tanzania this year, and I thought it would be great to interview her while she is on this incredible journey.

[Danielle in Tanzania]

1. Tell us a bit about yourself:
My Name is Danielle MacDonald and I’m from Prince Edward Island, Canada. I am currently in the tail end of my bachelor’s degree and serving Wycliffe Bible Translators of Canada in Tanzania for 6 months.

2. What are you doing in Tanzania, and how long will you be there?
I’m in Tanzania doing a 6 month internship working with the language survey team in Dar es Salaam.There are over 120 different languages here in Tanzania and it is the heart of our mission that all believers have access to scriptures in their heart language! Would that be how God would want them to learn about himself?!  It’s the most magical sight when a believer, searching after God, gets to experience His word in their heart language.
Before translation can happen, there are lots of decisions that need to be made about the team, project location, cultural needs and other fundamental project details. Our team goes into the area before hand and collect linguistic, social-linguistic and cultural information to help the project team make those decisions.

3. Did you always know that you would be a missionary? How did you know that you were called?
I love that God has a call on all of our lives and it looks different for each of us! For me, it wasn’t always clear. I drifted around the ideas of being a lawyer and social worker for most of my teenage years, but I always had a huge passion for traveling. It never occurred to me that all those things fit together perfectly, along with my gifting, to make missions an obvious fit, but God made it clear to me right before I finished high-school!  I think through other lessons I learnt at the same time, and having no idea what exactly missions would look like in my life, I just completely gave up control of those plans to God and followed as He gave me piece by piece!

4. What blessings and challenges have you experienced so far in the mission-field?
There have been many blessings and even more challenges on this trip, but each one full of purpose and learning. I’ve learnt a lot about myself and the person God has made me to be, but that hasn’t always been through the easiest lessons. I spent the first half of my trip quite isolated and as an extreme extrovert, isolation for an extended period of time is basically my worst nightmare!  Although that wasn’t the easiest time, God was doing a lot.
5. How has your missionary journey so far transformed your perceptions or expectations of the life of a missionary?
I think I’ve been getting a really amazing picture of how a group of missionaries makes up a body of all pieces, just like the church. There were times when I looked and myself in Wycliffe and realized,” I’m not a linguist, I don’t work well alone, I don’t fit here!!!” but God has been really teaching me the beauty of balance and the complexities of any organization. Every organization/group/project will be different in focus, but needs a wide range of skills to get the job done! If God gives you a passion for it, I’ve learnt you need to go for it, even if it seems like you don’t fit the stereotype right away!

6. What is God teaching you in Tanzania?
This is my favourite part because I’m a complete work in progress, but as I’m getting to the last third of my trip, I’ve been processing a lot and I’m so excited about what God is teaching me!
He wanted to show me that I had been letting  the people in my life (Christian and non-Christian) shape and influence me, but God so needed me to see that as I trust him, that I need to find my identity in Him. He took away everything I had been depending on to tell me “I sustain you, I am enough and you don’t need to look to others for your identity.”

7. Do you have long-term mission goals, beyond your current trip to Tanzania? If so, what are they?
I think I’ve learnt not to make specific plans beyond that I feel called to missions. Next up is finishing my bachelors program and I am pretty sure from there I’ll be going to grad school while mobilizing other s into internships and missions, but I’ve learnt many times that things could change faster than I can blink! I’ve graciously learnt to embrace that with joy!

8. How can we be praying for you?
I would love prayer for our team who go out on the field next weekend for three weeks!  We will be working in an area of Tanzania called Tabora and we would love prayer for safety on the roads, good health, and helpful contacts in the villages we visit. Mostly we want to pray that God will be preparing the hearts of the people we will meet and work with! Thank you so much for your prayer!

[Danielle with her sponsor child Allan in Uganda]

Thanks Danielle for sharing a bit of your journey with us! If you'd like to continue reading about Danielle and her amazing experience please check out her blog at: http://daniellemacdonald.wordpress.com/
It's never too late to support Danielle either, whether it be by sending her an encouraging e-mail, praying for her, or providing her with financial support. You can find more information on her website.

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