Saturday, June 27, 2009

Coming Home

As we sit in London where we were almost two weeks ago, this time period is filled with so many memories and so many new ideas…so many people and so many 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, and a different culture with incredibly different needs and blessings…

So I sit down with my laptop and now try to summarize what we’ve learned and describe 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 and that love has allowed us to be deeply connected and become lifetime 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 the love of Jesus Christ
3.Soccer is a universal connection and language to speak to people all over the world that even those who don’t play it in the States are drawn to overseas
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 and even joy 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 and continues to impact 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 in other places 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 ten 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…and we did it almost every day we were with our Zambian friends…

*The cloud of dust on the dirt pitches as we played soccer like millions do around the world with people just like us in so many ways

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

*Children standing up reciting the verses they had memorized in their brand new Good News Club as a few Zambian adults wept with joy in the back row

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

*Our students’ hands each locked with small African hands walking toward their schoolhouse that serves as a center of life and hope in the community

*The amazing beauty of Victoria Falls at sunrise and the majesty of the animals that the people of Africa love for you to see and experience

*Many of our students spooning the only meal of the day to young children lacking the nutrition they desperately need to learn and grow and develop

*One of our girls being carried in love by her new friends as they both sang in one of the poorest places on the planet

*Looking at the stars while sitting by a fire on the Zambian roadside laughing at how only God could have brought us to this place and given us such a strong hearbeat for His work we couldn’t even imagine on the other side of the world

I’ll end my African blog with a passage of Scripture that I think is our calling of response as we look forward more than you know to our reunion at O’Hare tomorrow afternoon (British Airways #295 scheduled to arrive at 2:10 pm)…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.

P.S. A personal word that came out of our final 3 hour sharing time last night under the African hut…so many students are still feeling like they have lots to process from this trip…they are carrying so many thoughts and experiences that they are still trying to incorporate into their lives and mind’s framework…they want to desperately respond to all they have seen, but yet are caught already in this tension between the Africa they have fallen in love with and the world they are so grateful to have grown up in…don’t be surprised if they struggle to tell you everything they saw and now feel, are unsure how to respond and participate in American culture, and are a bit nervous about feeling adequate to immediately express their trip experiences…so be patient, enjoy their company, and be assured you will have lots to talk about and engage together in the days ahead…your love and support is so meaningful thru the prep, the trip, and the debrief time now…I am praying what they have seen will bring new life and a rich blessing to your lives as well...

The community and time with all the folks on this trip has been so rich and so good for us all...and a perfect ending for 14 years at WA...

Awaiting our Reunion With You All,

Chip and the Zambia Crew

1 comment:

Toby Getsch said...