It’s impossible. Trust me–I’ve tried.
How can I possibly pen words to describe the mental chaos as we leave our new friends and family in Africa? Watching the African landscape gradually fade into the distance through small rectangular airplane windows carries with it a definite measure of sadness. The people and the country got under our skin. No matter how far away we fly, the scents and scenes will remain. In fact, the very smells which were so repulsive and overpowering when we first stepped foot into the squatter camps now linger on our clothes, making us homesick for families we may never again see. Many of us are already talking about when we can return. There is so much yet to do, so many people still to love.
At the same time, we ache for the familiar faces of home. Those who made their own contribution to this endeavor–friends, parents, children, neighbors. Those who supported and prayed and worried and cheered every step of the way. It took the cooperation, investments and servant-hearts of so many back home, making the ministry just as much theirs even without putting a foot on foreign soil.
It seems strange, but I think we also see more clearly the poverty, brokenness, and hopelessness in our own communities and neighborhoods. There are so many who feel lost. Are we doing enough to make sure each one knows they are valuable, loved and chosen by a God for a purpose? We don’t have to be thousands of miles away to live authentically and with impact. And so, though we are hours from being home, our hearts burn for a wildfire of hope to spark and spread…
Modimo o refile sebakanyana sema
lemotsotsonyana oma, o refile
God gave us this little moment
and he gave us this time.
In the end, I guess the words of this Basotho song, learned our first day, best sums up the last. Living is defined by little moments, individual intersections of time which can be either savored or wasted. The past two weeks have been a compilation of hundreds of these moments, snapshots which will, hopefully, change the way each of the thirteen of us (and even those of you who traveled with us through this blog) live tomorrow.
This is only the beginning. Plans are already underway for a trip to Rwanda to invest in her children early 2009. Interested or want more info? Send me an email. Remember, you can’t do everything, but you certainly can do something. And this may just be your moment.
Wow, sounds like an awesome trip. We missed you here though! ok… I missed you! =p
I’m interested in going with you next year…
It’s so evident that being among those in South Africa had a profound impact on you and that God used you to love His children there in great ways. I’m so excited to see how the Lord is going to continue to move in and through you and can’t wait for you to bring His love to those in Rwanda – hoping I can join you!
Michele, if it is possible to experience a mission trip to Africa without ever leaving my Colorado home I have done it. Through your words and pictures I have been touched and inspired. I almost feel like when I see your face again, it might be glowing like when Moses went on the mountain. :0) Thank you so much for sharing the moments of your trip with me and so many others. Masee was in my living room clinging to her new Bible and a love for the Bathoso people has entered my heart. Sounds a bit corny, but true. God used this blog to leave an African imprint on my soul.
I pray that this will only be the beginning.
Heather, my friend, I hope you DO go next year…it will change your life. Jumping out of the safety net has a tendency to do that (as you know quite well!). Looking forward to the adventure!
Oh, Robbie, your words are such an encouragement, and a you have lit a fire underneath to keep me pressing on. Thank you for taking the trip with me, and I hope one day soon you will join me on the plane, as well as the blog!