This morning we walked out on the tarmac of the Lusaka Airport one last time and I am now sitting late at night in a hotel next to the London Heathrow Airport...there are feelings of sadness leaving and fears about adjusting back to life in the States and a deep, deep longing to be home...and after 3 hours of sharing and closing conversation last night in a large African hut restaurant space there are so many things we have seen, tried to process, and experienced these past 2 weeks since we left O'Hare and you all...so here goes nothing and is a brief summary of my reflections on the plane out of Zambia back to the first world...
10 THINGS GOD TAUGHT ME WHEN I TRAVELED TO THE BEAUTIFUL COUNTRY CALLED ZAMBIA:
1. The globalization of the world allows us a unique opportunity to be a truly global church that loves and learns from each other while seeking to bring God's reign and rule to all hearts and nations together
2. The African Christians can and do help us live out a much more authentic and simple and vibrant faith as we see them live with great trust in Jesus every day
3. This generation of students has a deep need to see that the biblical value of justice is played out in the lives of each person made in the image of God
4. A remarkably small amount of financial resource given in Jesus' name can truly and dramatically change now and for eternity so many lives in so many places around the world
5. Our shared passions and interests, whether they be soccer or dance or music or health care or learning can be used to build instant friendships and are remarkable platforms for the Gospel to be brought forth in all its fullness to people everywhere we go
6. God is truly doing fantastic things to make His name known and to use His people to bring healing to a broken land thru Zambian pastors, caregivers, World Vision staff, teachers, grandmothers, midwifes, and young people in Africa today
7. If God can use a group of high school students to bring transformational change to the lives and future of a community thousands and thousands of miles away, He is clearly in the business of giving out dreams and helping people make visions become reality as part of His purpose and plan to change and redeem the world
8. The images of poverty and disease, unreal injustices, unadulterated joy, deep and pure love, and remarkable beauty in God's created work we have seen in Africa are burned into our minds forever
9. Taking a missions/vision trip overseas only justifies the cost and the time if one's world view and heart for people is so altered that our lifestyles are different and we respond with action to God's promptings from the Spirit to do something to change how we live and how life is lived in the places we have been
10. What the Zambia Project at Wheaton Academy has been all about and accomplished can and ought to be the norm rather than the exception for Christian schools, churches, ministries, and groups of Christ-followers in light of the incredible needs across the globe and across our towns, the state of rich blessedness we live in, and God's desire for it to happen!
I shared in our final Zambia Project chapel just over one month ago from Jesus' most clear action step we are to take on this planet when He declares in Matthew 22 that the Second Greatest Commandment that follows the First is to 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' I am so excited to see what that continues to mean in my own life and the lives of 24 others who spent 2 weeks together in the summer of 2008 in Zambia as we all continue to seek to love people at WA, in West Chicago and other suburbs, on college campuses, and in Africa and all other parts of the globe...
This trip is designed to be both an ending and a beginning in response to seeing the impact of the Zambia Project and discovering the next step for each of us as it relates to our response to the global needs of people close to us and so far away...I can't wait to see the next phase of the impact and power of loving our neighbors in the lives of this community I have loved being part of for the last 13 days and the larger WA community in the days, months, years, and lives to come...
Here's a final thought from U2's Bono about working in Africa and why we believe so strongly as we come home that we can make a difference: "We can't lose because we're putting our shoulder to a door that God Almighty has already opened."
SEEKING TO BRING AFRICA AND ALL IT HAS TO OFFER BACK HOME WITH US TO SHARE WITH YOU,