This hasn’t been a romanticized version of a vacation or a trip. We, as humans, constantly have ideals forming images in our head of what this trip could have been – but it’s not glamorous. We have been missing basic comforts like familiar food and going to bed without the worry of bugs in your pillow. We have been missing q-tips, air conditioning and playing piano in the living room. But this has been choosing to embrace somewhere different; embracing being immersed in another way of life.
The reality is, my team and I have been living in Lundazi, Zambia for a month.
On a number of occasions our team actually struggled with boredom- something we didn’t expect to be feeling across the ocean on this adventure. Quite honestly, it has been hard to admit to people back home who helped us fundraise money to go. But we had to realize that there’s indescribable beauty in worshipping under mango trees & getting our feet and faces dirty while playing soccer in the dirt with locals. Having a go-go-go attitude with all kinds of projects might satisfy our Western way of completing our fast paced to-do lists, but in the long run wouldn’t be doing a thing for the people. Through us, they have to be seen, heard, and not bombarded with our goals so we can return home feeling accomplished.
Poverty doesn’t mean we are up here while they are down there. It’s coming along side while saying “I’m broken too” that brings true transformation. It can happen in our own city just as easily as across the ocean.
We’ve met new people but the relationships we have made likely won’t last past these four weeks. We have been helping construct a science lab at Hoya School, but these people could’ve built it more quickly and more adequately. That’s just the uncomfortable and frustrating reality.
That’s why I wouldn’t call the past month a “mission trip” or even a “cultural exchange” so much as a wonderful opportunity for us to act as Paul did while encouraging the churches abroad.
We have been running around with friendly kids who were ecstatic to see us. We experienced being a very obvious minority. We have come out of it having encouraged the church there and havin participated in their refreshing way of worship. We have eaten a lot of rice and shima. We’ve driven on the left side of the road. We now know a bit about their culture. And yes, despite not going solely for our own benefit – we were blessed by them, their joy, and their willingness to invite us in. We haven’t immediately fixed problems that have been long-standing; it’s impossible to do so in just one month.
And I think that’s okay.
Hands and feet. Praying I can be Jesus’ on earth – no matter how dusty they may get.