I am on my way to Africa…again. I going to the east side of Africa, to Tanzania and Kenya, where the scenery is completely different than the desert of Burkina Faso where I was a couple weeks ago.
I am already dreaming of the rolling hills of the golden brown Savannah, the grassy, green marsh fields, the mountains that hover gloriously in the distance, the flowers that smell brilliant, the food with the essence of saffron, the Joshua trees with their branches sculpted into hands that extend into the sky in praise, the sunrise across the Savannah that even the animals stop to admire, the sunsets which look like flames of fire in the distance, and the stars at night, which are countless to the eye. Better than any museum in the world, Africa’s landscape displays God Almighty’s priceless artwork. Then, there is the culture. The smiles are rich with love and joy. Behind those smiles, I have met those who live in the worst of slums in the world, in the most difficult conditions one can imagine. Yet, even in the darkest places on earth, the people I have met in East Africa still find hope and joy, only because they have discovered the miracle of Christ’s love. His resurrection lives! In my precious encounters with the poor, I have been greeted with a joy not of this world. I have encountered the dancing and singing of saints, who have unleashed the shackles of poverty, to dance with joy, like a prisoner released for the first time.
Then there are the African mamas. Awe…I have a big smile on my face right now just thinking about them. There really isn’t any way to truly describe an African mama who recently discovered her baby has a chance. In my past trips, these mamas have taken my hand, like a sister, given me a beautiful smile, and made me dance in a mighty mighty “she’s a brick house” way. It’s awkward, and I feel like a misfit. However, they laugh heartily at me, and with eyes of Jesus, they accept my awkward, misfit ways. I love, love, love every minute, to the point the tears roll down my cheek. In these moments, I have felt such warmth of love so deeply, its beyond what the world can offer.
Getting on the plane today, I had moments my mind went back to Burkina. PTSD. Yes, my last trip was stressful. After all, I had a group of 35 people I was responsible for. We dealt with a terrorist attack nearby, we canceled our trip plans, we stayed at the hotel until our travel team could get us flights out of country. It was my personal Argo movie moment.
I first must apologize, because I planned to tell the story of Burkina Faso on my blog about what happened, but I am still learning lessons. I do want to give God, my Savior, praise… because I am blown away at the provisions on this last trip, how He came before, during and after, to walk my group of 35 people through a situation that was a bit crazy. I am still in awe at the decision our Burkina staff made in setting up the trip, that they booked us at this “other hotel”, when in the past, The Splendid Hotel, was sometimes used (The hotel that was involved in the attacks).
Getting on the plane today, I wasn’t quite emotionally ready. I admit, I wanted to cry when I left my family. Not because I didn’t feel safe on this trip, but because I realized, my last trip taught me a couple of big lessons that I can’t ignore, and I am still trying to soak them in. Here were the two lessons that I am still processing.
Wheels up again. This plane is off the ground and I am writing this blog on my way to AFRICA. The last time I had a significant moment when the wheels were up, was when we finally got my 35 people on that plane leaving Burkina Faso. What a relief that was.
Moving on…two little princesses wait for me in Kenya. My Compassion sponsored kids: Nanu and Hannah. My Hannah is almost 20. She is a gem. A saint. An example of Jesus to me. Each letter she sends is a treasure. She ministers to my heart. I love her. Then, there is little Nanu. Nanu was a sick little girl 3 years ago, and after a surgery, she is now thriving. She is like a sparkle, and my family has watched her bloom like a beautiful flower.
This trip does not come easy. It’s the longest trip I have ever been on without my family in the years I have been with Compassion.
Today, when the wheels went up again on this flight, back to Africa, my palms went up along with the wheels, and I prayed this.
I surrender Lord. I say YES. YES, YES. Send me. I am yours. Let me see your handiwork, and beauty. Let me experience your peace. Let me be your hands and feet. Let me hear you speak. Let me love the broken-hearted, the outcast, the poor, the children, the widows, those of other religions, those who want to persecute me. Let me love them like you. Let me feel your peace. Let me PRAISE YOUR NAME. Oh… Abba Father, you are here with me, forever. You never change, you always travel with me, you are my constant companion, and I trust you with my life. I Love You.
Wheels up. Off to Africa.
Specializing in Marriage and Family Therapy
Life, Family, Faith and Travel...the life of a Jones
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