So we come to the end of this particular journey. I hope there will be more to come. Some of what I experienced will never leave me, some I’m sure will fade with time. There are some experiences that I’m still processing and some that I will never be able to fully process. But for this evening, if I had to boil what I’ve learned down to a short and tidy list it might look something like this:
- One person can not change the entire world, but you can help change the world for one person.
- A smile and laughter are universal and can cross any language barriers.
- Being a part of the family of God is a bond that transcends culture, language, economic status, and nationality.
- The economy class on a Boeing 777 was not designed with sleeping comfort in mind.
- Most of us in the western world are incredibly ignorant and unaware of how rich we really are.
- Pack light, but be prepared. (If you can reconcile those two then…bonus!)
- Always go for the window seat!
- The world is breathtakingly beautiful and also tragically broken. See and delight in the beauty, but don’t ignore the broken.
- Have patience and kindness for the airline customer service employee. They didn’t cause your plane to be late and they are the only one who can really help you.
- We take things for granted: I have a new appreciation for indoor plumbing, the Indiana Department of Transportation, clean water, immunizations, access to quality healthcare, a secure home…..really this list could go on forever.
- We are too distracted and too busy in America. Distracted by a flood of useless information and busy doing things that have no lasting value.
- When your bus passes a child jumping up and down, waving, and yelling “Wazunga!”, it makes you smile to know you brought that kid some fun just by being white and funny looking.
- Words are important. Words of encouragement to a child are invaluable.
- Monkeys can and will steal a yogurt right out of your hand.
- I love a good photo, but don’t miss experiencing the moment while trying to document the moment.
- I could go for a cold Stoney Tangawizi right now. (African kicked-up ginger ale)
- When you are exhausted and at the breaking point, God will put people in your path that will show you mercy and kindness….don’t forget to pass it on.
The world is home to a vast sea of humanity. God sees and knows them all. There are none too small to be noticed, none too poor to be dismissed. There are none too powerful to be beyond need of Him and none too broken for His forgiveness. I saw a seemingly unending parade of faces and people. They passed me in the airport. They served me dinner. Their faces flew by as I traveled down an African highway. They tagged and transported my luggage. Face after face; all of them known and loved by God. For those 12 days, I hope I was able to serve as His hands and feet. I hope they saw Jesus in me.