Monday, January 23, 2012

Metamorphosis of a Fraidy Cat -- Pt.2

Courtesy H. Nett
If you ever wondered about the power of prayer, most any question you have would surely be answered if you met my friend, Hannah. I am who she used to be even tho' I am older than her mother. How can that be, you ask? Because I am the fraidy cat she was before her metamorphosis. My feet remain solidly tethered to this earth. Her's have been set free to dance...upon the earth. When I asked how she managed to escape the chains that bound her in fear, she paused a moment before definitively answering with one simple word, “Prayer.”

Despite her fear of both the large and small requirements of daily life, she allowed herself to envision a different kind of world than the one she knew growing up. It was a world without fear. Her foundation of faith in a Creator God enabled her to trust him with her fear. She decided to forge ahead despite her fears and asked God to give her a heart to go where no fraidy cat in her right mind would think of going: Hawaii. Ok, we might THINK of going there, but we certainly would not do it ALONE at the tender age of 19!
Courtesy H. Nett

Hannah's God was faithful. He did, in fact, give her a heart to further her study of photography and enabled her to pull together the funding to do so. Her fears dissolved. She set off to embrace a brave, new world in which fear would become a thing of her past.

Our conversation darted here and there at a pace suggestive of the flight of dragonflies and hummingbirds as I tried to get my mind around her journey. The transition to Hawaii went smoothly. Her days were filled with classes and new friends. It was easy enough to network with family and friends back home. The 3 months there allowed her time to adjust to life without the comforts and supports of home before she set off on the bigger journey.

Courtesy H. Nett
As the group prepared to fan out across the globe for an international practicum, she was offered 3 locations from which to choose: China, South Africa, and Cambodia. How does one decide?

My young friend decided to write the names of the 3 countries on 9 slips of paper, so that each country was represented 3 times. She put the slips in a bowl and drew a slip out: China. She decided to return the slip to the bowl and draw from all 9 again. Again, she drew China. She repeated the process 4 more times. Each time, she drew China.

She chuckled at the telling of it all these months after the doing of it. “I decided God was trying to tell me something. I had always wanted to go to Africa, but I signed on for the China trip. It was as if he said, 'Follow me to China, and you will one day go to Africa.' So, I did.”

Courtesy H. Nett
Wonder of wonders, this young lady, who had been so afraid of meeting new people and speaking before groups, found herself doing both while in China. She had the opportunity to interact with young Chinese students working on their English speaking skills. As part of that interaction, she began to teach beginning photography skills to 2 different groups of students. One class met in a local coffee house. The other group met at a local university after a professor heard about her class and invited her to teach at his school.

Her class members ranged in age from 12 to 40 years old. The class included students, professors, young professionals, and even a young medical student. There she was – a fraidy cat in the midst of an amazing metamorphosis. This fraidy cat was becoming a teacher standing in front of a group of 30 strangers, for whom English was a 2nd language, doing what she feared most: public speaking.

Courtesy H. Nett
Eventually, she became aware of a the opportunity to join a tour group to North Korea. She joined folks from Uganda, Canada, Australia and other far flung countries who traveled in North Korea for 9 days. One lasting impression of the experience is the memory of how green and lush her surroundings were as they traveled. She was amazed at a performance given by children at a local orphanage. She sampled fish eyeballs and found that her favorite food is fried squid and stingray.

Her memories came at me in rapid fire bursts. It was obvious that she is still processing all she was able to experience in those few short days. I asked Hannah if she would like to visit China or North Korea again. “In a heartbeat,” she replied, “But next on my agenda is Africa.”

Courtesy H. Nett
Despite difficult days of transition when she first arrived in China, despite missing her bed and her family, despite feeling culturally isolated until she found her rhythm in China, she is ready to go again. Not long after returning home, she discovered that her church was sponsoring a trip to Africa. Remember that South Africa was one of the 2 countries she turned down to go to China? Guess what!

This former fraidy cat now plans to accompany her home church to a small town in South Africa where they will work with orphans affected by the Aids crisis as well as with trouble teens. She hopes to put her photography skills to use helping document the trip. That fraidy cat thing? I believe she has laid that dragon to rest.

Courtesy H. Nett
I asked, “What do you know about yourself that you did not know before you went on this journey?”

She replied, “I am stronger than I ever had any idea that I was. And, I am free. I have realized that no matter where I go, the Lord will be with me and give me a heart to be there. Fear does not control me anymore.”

And I say, “Fly fraidy cat, fly. And, Godspeed on your way.” 
Isaiah 41: 13 (NIV)
For I am the LORD, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.

Courtesy H. Nett
NOTE: Hannah hopes to travel to South Africa in early February if she is able to raise the funds to do so. In addition to holding down a job, she is offering portrait packages for local clients in an effort to raise the $2,300.00 needed for the trip. If you are moved by her story and would like to help fund her trip, her church is accepting contributions on her behalf.

To donate funds please click on this link:

So that your donation will be accurately posted, be sure and note:
Hannah Nett – South Africa 

Stay tuned for updates as Hannah continues to blossom in a world free of the old chains of fear!  

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