Tuesday, November 8, 2011

One Year

One year ago today, I began my life-changing adventure in Africa. I've been thinking a lot about what has changed in me in the last year. Most people assume that Africa was life-changing because I saw poverty and a bunch of weird customs. But that's not what changed me. Before I went, I had been in much more impoverished areas and I think I run into more strange customs here in New York City each week than I did in my 6 months in Africa. I didn't change because it was a cross-cultural experience. I changed because of the people I met there.

I quickly learned that life there is hard. I knew it wouldn't be easy, but I didn't couldn't understand how hard life is there. The heat, the isolation, the pressure of speaking a different language when you leave the house, trying to be a light-, all caused days when I just didn't want to get out of bed. I wasn't alone in all of this though. All the ex-pat women who I met there understood. They had gone through the same things. They were going through the same things. And most of these women are still pushing through there. They raise their families there, they make a home and they live lives that show the evidence of the Spirit that lives inside of them. These women taught me hospitality, how to follow God even when it means giving up some of your own wants, and how to love the people around you. They give of themselves each day, making a place home, even when they have no assurance that it will be home the next year. They bend over backwards to serve yet know when they need to stop to take care of themselves. I learned that family are the people who you sit around the dinner table with, who search the stores until they find crackers for you when you're sick, and who invite you to sit and cry and talk when they know that it is what you need.

These women showed me how to be like Jesus day in and day out. They walked out their faith. They are real life examples of  who I want to be. They showed me what being like Jesus looks like and how to continually be going through the process to get there. And that's what changed me.

1 comment:

suz said...

It was a complete honor to have you be a part of our lives there for those blessid six months. You are the treasure, dear friend.