Monday, June 25, 2012

after 365 days in Africa

Many days seemed to fly by with:

Beach-side sunrises at 5:00 AM, 

Saturday soccer with guards,

Mountain hikes through waterfalls, 

 Sunday ball with an orphanage team,

Ocean cruises on a catamaran,

Video Games with 2nd Graders,

Basketball camp with 100+ kids, 

Athletic competitions with local schools,

Insightful discussions with beloved guards, 

and powerful African sunsets.

Other days seemed like weeks, thanks to:

Church services with multiple sermons
(event-oriented society),

Triple-digit temperatures with 100% humidity,

17-hour bus rides with unplanned pit-stops,

Failed GPS tracking with students in the bush,

Rainy season and flooded roads,

and forced good-byes to close friends.

          I guess I'm supposed to be arriving home, seeing my time overseas is up. But arriving, for me, has recently become a complicated word. The more people I meet and the more places I live, the more difficult it is to arrive. Transition is tough. What you find and who you meet while traveling and discovering and venturing out is not what makes it hard; it's those you leave behind.

          We are having a family reunion in southern Missouri at the lake this week. Familiar faces of family and friends are sweet to see for sure, but so are those we have to leave to see them. Consider water sports. When you're waiting to ski or tube or knee-board, you float in the water behind the boat. It takes a while for the rope to tighten after the boat starts moving forward. It feels like I'm still moving from Africa, even though I'm already home. I'm physically here, but my mind is still catching up to the boat. I'm feeling the tug of the taught rope pulling my emotions as I complete the transition. I wasn't expecting such a difficult time returning when I left last June.

          I think dying to self and following Christ brings with it natural transition. Jesus didn't sit and wait for people to come to Him. While He moved along, He invited those He met to follow Him (by leaving). One thing I learned this year is that the Body of Christ is global. I've grown up with songs of Jesus loving all the little children of the world, but to go out into the world and meet some of these children who are loving Jesus back has been incredible! This is what makes transition more bearable. When we think of who we're leaving it can be extremely sad. But it's encouraging to know passionate followers of Christ are all around. And when we realize Who is waiting for us, going with us, and staying behind us as we leave, it makes it easier to jump in cars, board planes, and follow Christ by leaving.

America is my home for now. The year in Africa is over.
But I think I'll be arriving for a while. 

And you know what? I'm cool with that. 

Thank you for listening to my thoughts in this blog and for being a part of the best year of my life. 

I look forward to what lies ahead! 

Be blessed, friend!

"Be strong and courageous.  
Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, 
for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go."      
Joshua 1:9

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