Saturday, June 30, 2007

A Final Africa Blog

As we sit in London where we were 10 days ago, this time period is filled with so many memories and so many new ideas…so many people and times when God’s Spirit was alive and moving…so many things that I have thought about and been challenged to consider in a new and fresh way as we have gone to Zambia and been part of a different church, different world, different culture with incredibly different needs and blessings…

So I sat down with my pen and have tried to summarize what I’ve learned and the images of Africa that will remain with us as we return to be the voice for the poor and sick, the voice for justice and equality and compassion, the voice telling of how God is bringing hope and change to a continent and country and community, the voice of praise to our Jesus who loves us and the children of Africa to allow us to be connected and become friends…

A Baker’s Dozen Reflections on our Trip of a Lifetime:
1.Imago Dei…the reality that we are all created by God and each person is His image bearer is an unbelievable powerful truth for our lives
2.God is raising up leaders in His Church in every place on the planet to be and share the message and personal representation of Jesus Christ
3.Soccer is a universal connection and language to speak to people all over the world
4.The Spirit of God roams the earth looking to build relational bridges between the most unlikely of peoples
5.When you freely and tangibly love children they will shower you with love and affection in return
6.Jesus calls us to be grace-givers to those who are involved in behaviors and living lives we cannot relate to
7.We are invited to enter into the suffering of the poor and sick through our prayers, presence, and gifts…and in that work we find community and life in a new and fresh way
8.Our resources and everyday stuff can do exceedingly more than we can even believe in places like sub-Saharan Africa
9.The AIDS pandemic has truly affected every person and family in Zambia in the 21st century
10.There is clearly a moment, a window of opportunity to help change the future of an entire generation in Africa so that their lives will be different than their parents
11.Our ability to become compassionate like Jesus will determine our impact as Christians who want to care for and save the lives and souls of people in all nations
12.God has given a special anointing and vision to this generation of young people to take on the world’s biggest and deepest issues
13.When you choose to give your resources and your very life with a thankful heart and spirit in order to “love your local and global neighbor as yourself”, there will be a cost---and that cost is overcome by a marvelous and surprising joy and meaning and blessing that is a beautiful reward

This trip has been both a mixture of seeing dreams become reality in a village in Zambia, and then asking God to help plant new visions for how we can help respond to the world’s greatest needs at this moment…and the things that will propel us forward to chase the Kingdom vision he has poured out on us are the images, the snapshots, the pictures of Africa that we bring home to you…

My images from Africa this time are ones like these:
*Dancing, dancing, dancing…I’m not a candidate for Dancing with the Stars, but you are just drawn by the spirit and culture of this place to dance with joy and freedom…

*The cloud of dust on a dirt pitch as we played soccer like millions do around the world

*Stretching out our hands to touch and pray for those dying in their huts in a quiet village

*Children drinking water from a muddy well down the road and then days later seeing the splash of a machine draw up water from the African ground for a new clean water well

*Hundreds of children running and singing and screaming “DO IT!” as the bus packed to the gills with muzungus arrives in a small village called Kakolo

*Our students’ hands each locked with small African hands walking toward their new schoolhouse

I’ve just finished reading Bill Hybels’ book Holy Discontent on the plane ride home, and he ends his book with a passage of Scripture that I’ll end my African blog with as we looked forward to our reunion at O’Hare tomorrow…CHIP

I TIMOTHY 6:18-19…Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.

1 comment:

Dan said...

Thanks for your thoughts. I look forward to talking to you more about the trip.

Dan