Preparing to leave the country for two years was a lot more hectic than I ever imagined it to be.

My last month in the states was spent traveling, shopping for unusual supplies, meeting with donors, and spending time with friends and family. It seemed as though I did not have a moment to spare. During my last two weeks in Houston, I began to become very overwhelmed with all I had to do: cancel my gym membership, alert the banks of the move, get my last immunizations, get my international driver’s license, write countless thank you notes--the list went on and on. Also, my social calendar was full to the brim with meals and outings with friends and family as my departure date approached.

I began to get stressed about being able to fit everybody and everything into my schedule, but then a good friend reminded me of the story of Mary and Martha in Luke 10:38-42. Martha was busy scurrying about, trying to complete many tasks, while Mary sat at the feet of Jesus listening to him, strengthening her relationship with Him. My friend reminded me that people are more important than things.

It was more important for me to spend time with my friends and family than to make sure I had every last item packed. I asked God to help me manage my time well and to love others well in the midst of my preparations for the move. I don’t know how this was physically possible, but somehow I was able to see and spend time with almost everyone I needed to before leaving (also with the help of my friends who threw me an awesome surprise going away party). God is good. Yes, I got to Africa missing a few items. Yes, I left a few tasks behind that my mom so graciously offered to complete for me, but I’d rather have left some things that can be replaced than to have lost time nurturing relationships, which cannot be regained.

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” -Luke 10:41-42