When Jesus saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”
So I'm back from Africa ...
"Asalaa-maalekum!" they say, Peace upon you … "Malekum-salaam," you reply, and peace to YOU.
I’ve documented everything on this blog. No doubt waaaaay more than you want to read about … but I put in most everything from my journal…. You can click to different sections on the right to read about different things. SCROLL TO THE VERY BOTTOM TO SEE ALL THE PICTURES... and please don't judge me for not editing...
So, here’s the short answer
… How was your trip, Emily? Well, It was real. I feel like I got a real, first-hand view of how missions work in a truly unreached area. I met amazing missionaries, visited African villages and even prayed with some of them. I understand much better now why foreign missions are so important.
We spent most of our time in the city, and remained healthy (no doubt due to your powerful prayers!). We stayed in the dorms at a boarding school for missionary kids, (so no sleeping in grass huts or eating grubs or anything like that…). But I definitely experienced African life.
Here is the city of Dakar
(click on images to see them bigger)
First of all, let me THANK YOU all who supported me and prayed for me. I learned SO MUCH through this experience. Know your support helped encourage the career missionaries, brought prayer in the name of JESUS into the homes of Muslims, and you helped give me a vision for my future. THANKS!
Here are some ruminations:
Before I left, I prayed Psalm 51…for God to break my heart.
What broke my heart might surprise you. It surprised me.
It wasn’t the abject poverty we saw – most people seemed to have basic shelter and food in the city. It wasn’t the completely unsanitary conditions or women working hard on the crops or water wells with babies strapped to their backs. That’s normal to them. They didn’t seem to mind. It wasn’t the Talibe children begging on the street – that’s just considered part of growing up for them. My heart wasn’t even broken for the lack of education. I mean the people have functioned quite well through history as an illiterate, oral society....
One thing that did tug at my soul was the stronghold of Islam
It pains me that they can’t escape it. If a person in our neighborhood ponders Christianity, they have hundreds of churches to visit to find answers. A Senegalese person considering Christ has no one. One missionary per million people is spread a tad thin. With the towers of the mosques towering over the people, watching their every move, they can’t escape it. To consider Christ takes a concerted effort with little confidentiality, risking reputation to seek out the truth. I hear people say, “Why do we need to go to so far and pay so much money for foreign missions when there are plenty of lost people in our own backyard?”
It’s because those people in your backyard have access. West Africans don’t. That’s why we have to go, to send, to pray for the faithful servants over there.
But where my heart was truly broken was for the missionaries
who abandon everything about the life you and I know to become a part of a completely different world.
You better believe the reporter in me kicked into high gear and interviewed the heck out of these most interesting people. I was so struck by them that I’ve highlighted each of them in their own section at the end of this blog so you can hear all of their amazing stories.
Seeing their work and the patience they must have for even the slightest of fruit, I’ve also gained a new respect and fear of God’s timing.
I guess I realized that even though He may ask missionaries to give up their entire lives to serve somewhere, that doesn’t mean they will necessarily see anyone accept Jesus. The fact is -- He doesn’t guarantee anything in this lifetime – no matter what we sacrifice. That’s a tough one.
Through this trip, I saw why God had to give us Jesus
. You see, these Muslims don’t have a personal God.
They pray through beads, they don’t have any concept of God speaking to them or
showing them things in their lives. They have no spirit that walks with them daily to counsel them in every moment. Their God is distant. He doesn’t take personal interest in them. While justice and tolerance are key concepts in their religion, “love” is not a key term. It’s so easy to see -- especially in these Africans and their overt friendliness
-- that God created humans with an innate desire to love and to be loved. Why wouldn’t He want to fulfill that? He did fulfill that, in the best way possible. By sending us a man that we could see, touch, hear and know personally. Pray the West Africans can realize that.
I know you are asking: Are you going back? I could. I sure wouldn’t mind if that’s where God wanted to call me …. But who knows….if you want, you can pray about that with me…
So that’s the short answer about my trip...(ha, right, wasn’t so short….)
Oh yeah!! ... I met three Aggie missionaries in Africa! Gig’em!
Here are more details, pictures and ruminations if you care to read them…
**quick note** If you read these stories and come accross a person or two that touches your heart, I encourage you to just pause and say a little prayer for them ... God hears the prayers of his righteous people ... thank you so much.