A snapshot of Africa

tanzania-josh-0960For those of you who don’t know, I recently returned from a mission trip in Tanzania, Africa. I’ve told alot of people alot of amazing stories, and I’d be more than willing to tell you if you ask, but thus far i purposely havn’t written anything regarding my trip. Simply put, my mind cannot process all that went on during those two and a half amazing weeks. So now i sit here, a little more than a week removed from Africa, still trying to process all that went on, and trying to put a little bit in writing. So I’ll just share something that I wrote on the plane ride back:

How do I describe Kigoma? Kigoma is a little city on the western edge of Tanzania, a peaceful country in Eastern Africa. But that tells you nothing. I dont have the words or the pages to adequately describe what Kigoma is, much less what Kigoma is to me. All I know is that it was the best experience of my life. In the jumbled mess that was formally my mind the phrase “beauty over pain” keeps popping. Let me explain a little: Everywhere we went, I saw pain. Africa really is the Africa you see on TV. The dirt huts, the starving kids. It truly is everything you see on the “you can feed this child for just 10 cents a day” commercials. And honestly that surprised me. I had seen those commercials before, and I had thought to myself, it cant really be that bad, can it? But it was, and i was shocked. I’ve been to Mexico, I’ve seen poverty, but I’ve never seen this. I’ve never seen truly starving kids, I’ve never seen soccer balls made out of plastic bags wrapped in rubber bands, I’ve never had kids beg me for clean water. But even more surprising than the immense poverty, even more beautiful than I had imagined  possible, was the hope I saw. You see, unlike the poverty i had seen before, there wasn’t just “happiness” in their poverty, there was true joy in their poverty, even generosity in their poverty. And for what? A bunch of undeserving, ignorant Americans? They gave more to us with less than I could have imagined, and most surprising, with all the pain and poverty, there was no bitterness in the people I met. The all had amazingly true and transparent hearts, they truly loved life, loved God, loved each other, and love us. And they didnt love us for what gave them, but simply because we were people, other brothers and sisters in Christ….And no matter how vast the economic, geographical, or cultural gap was between us. We were one. I know that doesn’t make much sense, and if it does it must sound incredibly corny, but I dont have a better way to describe it. We were a family, and nothing else mattered. I can sit in a mud hut, in the middle of nowhere, sweating like crazy, with no electricity, no running water, and not much more than a couple of chairs and a picture of Jesus that was cut out of a magazine tacked on the wall, and I can feel perfectly at home. The say home is where the heart is, and that statement is never been more true than in Africa., because maybe I’m 9,000 miles and 4 plane rides away from “home”, and maybe I’m wearing yesterdays clothes and I haven’t truly showered in 3 days, but I’ve never felt more at home and I’ve never felt more alive. Because those people loved Jesus and they loved us. It was that simple. To be honest, I’ve never felt closer to Home.

 

I have more great pictures of Africa that I think you should see, if you scroll down on the same post here:

http://blogs.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&friendId=26762710&blogId=405564566

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