Monday, May 21, 2012

AFRICA TRIP BLOG #13: A Sunday Morning Worship Experience at Victoria Falls…

We got up early (pretty much a staple on this trip…who has time to sleep when you want to take in all Africa has to offer?) and headed to see one of the SEVEN NATURAL WONDERS OF THE PHYSICAL WORLD…every Zambian you meet wants you to go and see the Falls…it is such a point of pride as a people…and when you step down a couple steps and see this massive wall of water that extends over 2 miles across Zambia and Zimbabwe crashing down almost 400 feet you just stand in amazement and awe…it simply is like nothing you have ever or will ever see again…

We hiked down and crossed a bridge to see the falls from another point of view while spray from the mist literally drenched us hundreds of feet away from the actual falls…we saw the ridiculous bridge across the falls running from one country to another where one could bungee jump from a platform 400 feet above the Zambezi River (I told everyone we didn’t have time!) And we even walked up above the falls and took pictures just a few yards from where it all heads down…

On a Sunday morning this was a worship experience like no other…I sat on a rock for a moment and thought about missionary doctor and explorer David Livingstone first coming upon this place and the privilege I now have to revel in double rainbows over the falls, the immense sound of the power of rushing water, and the chance to share these moments with my Zambia team as we wrap up our time in this beautiful country…Victoria Falls displays the glory and the power and the majesty of our Creator God…and we reveled in that reality this morning in a quiet spot of remarkable beauty on this earth…

And then we got one final African experience as we went into the Livingstone Market and purchase items from Zambia to bring back home to you all…we even had some students become very efficient and effective barterers as they went back and forth with the African salesmen they met!  We hope these things will help connect you in some way to this place that has grabbed our hearts…

Tonight we had our final debrief time as a team on our Zambia trip…each of us shared memories, highlights, the moments and experiences that affected us and impacted us most deeply over the last 11 days in Africa…we also talked about what we sensed God is moving us to do in response to this trip when we return to the States…and we closed our time by praying for each other and chose to pray all at the same time, just as our friends in Zambia regularly do as the passionately and personally life their praises and requests to God…

It was truly a rich time, full of incredible reflections, ideas, and even deep questions…things were shared about the incredible people we met and the relationships that were developed, the moments of personal suffering we entered into with children and families, the vision and vitality of the African church, the joy in seeing how God is already so much on the move and at work here in Zambia, the prayers that were answered while we were here of African friends, and all the things that we were taught and that came alive as we saw them in the lives of women and children and men whose faith transformed ours in ways we couldn’t have predicted or imagined…

Zambia has been a place of joy and laughter, sorrow and suffering, soccer and more soccer, dancing and eating, hope and life, and even sickness and death for all of us…and we are not who we were when we left Grand Rapids two weeks ago…and we are so hopeful that we will become who God has called us to be in light of our privilege to come to the other side of the world as servants of Jesus…

We come home wanting to sponsor children, to build clinics in places where none exist, to provide bed nets for thousands of families, to pray daily for those we now call friends, to provide supplies for those who care for the least, to make a high school education become a dream realized, to share stories through our photos and words, to even come back to Africa for a much longer time, and perhaps most of all, to invite and inspire our family and friends and our CU campus to enter into this story together with us as we live life in full view of all we have seen and heard from the voices of our African brothers and sisters and our God…

Please be patient with us we come home…we are still in many ways trying to process all that has happened and our level of emotional and physical exhaustion might be a little high than normal…we might even be somewhat upset at some pieces of American culture and life that we didn’t mind before because of the lack of resources we have seen available here…we’ll come around but it might take a little time as we re-enter life in the States…and as we try to live differently don’t be afraid to ask us why and try to hear the details of our experiences and thinking…we really can’t wait to share our lives and our stories with you all…and we’d love it if you would pray for us as we come home and try to figure out what God wants us to do as His advocates and agents of change on behalf of the people of Zambia in the communities we have been in over these last days…

I closed tonight by reading Jesus’s mission statement of words in his first public ministry address in Luke 14:18-19…
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, 
    because he has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
    and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
19     to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

This final verse is referencing the amazing idea God established in the Year of Jubilee in the nations of Israel’s calendar every 50 years…a time where debts were forgiven, plenty of food was available for all who needed it, broken lives were healed, and God’s favor and presence was tangible, especially for those who were poor and suffering in the previous years…that’s what our partner on this trip, Jubilee Ministries, is really all about…and we can’t wait to spend the rest of our lives helping God’s favor, this remarkable concept of Jubilee, break forth in Grand Rapids, in our homes and hometowns, in our churches, in our world, in a very special place called Zambia in a massive continent called Africa…may God use us and continue to change us for this purpose…

For the Zambia team one last time,

CHIP

p.s. we are spending the night here in London and hope to arrive back at Chicago O’Hare mid-afternoon on Tuesday…the plan is to try and get back to CU by 8 pm on Tuesday night if our travel times all fit together well…can’t wait to see you all!

3 comments:

Chris Minick said...

Thank you for the detailed account of your trip. Erik and I have read every word with anticipation and prayer. God Bless you all.

Anonymous said...

Welcome home team!
Minga Grace

safari in South Africa said...

I love going to the Victoria Falls. I was not able to experience the Devil's Pool, unfortunately. But the bungee jump and the abseil are terrific!