In exactly one week at this time, I will be flying through the air in a plane with a destination of Africa.
I am returning to Zambia.
"When you go to Africa, you leave part of your heart there." Those words were spoken to me before my first trip. I held onto them with a "we'll-see" attitude, not being able to fully believe the truth of them because I had not yet experienced Africa.
I have now, and I am here to tell you-- those words are true.
As my trip nears, I am anticipating it with memories of last time...
One of my favorite experiences of the everyday culture was the mile-long walk on the dirt road to the school. The very first morning, we ventured out into the cool, foggy morning. Trucks whizzed by us with Africans sitting in the back. A myriad of men walked down the road to work, and women carried bags or babies on their back. Bikers with baskets, kids in school uniforms, all of us walking together. It was during these moments that it seemed most real to me that I was, indeed, in Africa.
As we neared the school, kids in mis-matched, torn clothes ran up and asked us where we were going.
"Lifesong School," we said.
Word spread, and bright-faced, smiling kids ran up and grabbed our hands. They held on and walked beside us with innocence and trust.
It was then that I learned love-- Jesus' love. I felt it welling up inside my heart and bursting forth, pouring out of me to shower on the kids.
I learned this lesson of love again and again throughout that week. In church, when the African people in their lively, spirited voices sang and danced praises to Jesus with hands lifted high. Underneath the mosquito net hanging over my bed at night, when I drifted off to sleep thinking about the widespread disease and sickness that sweeps over these people with little healthcare, and thanking God for His hand of provision in my own life. When I met other African people, and they welcomed me wholeheartedly and told me to visit often. When I held 3 children on my lap, and they were content to sit and be embraced. When I served them the only meal they had seen in 3 days-- a piece of bread with a smear of peanut butter.
Giving feels good, but I came home feeling like Africa gave me more than I was ever able to give back.
I am excited to hear the voices of the kids, and most of all, to see their faces. Their eyes say more to me than anything else. I am delighted to love them, and my heart swells to think that they are even more delighted to love me back.
If I don't bring one back with me this time... it will be a miracle.
Love you all... this next week looks like a pretty busy outlook for me, so I will be back after my trip with lots of stories and pictures!