From the seeds planted in my youthful mind by Tarzan movies, displays from visiting missionaries, books about safaris and dreams of hunting dangerous game there, Africa has always fascinated me. I never thought I would go there, let alone in the capacity in which I find myself.
I am not going for a vacation.I will not be with my family due to many factors, not the least of which is cost. I will not be on safari, but rather on a mission trip, working in the Makwale Orphanage
Here is a link to Amanda's blog. She is the new orphanage director, and it will give you a sense of where I am going.
The orphanage is home to 47 children, most orphaned due to HIV/AIDs, which has ravaged sub-Saharan Africa. Due to this disease, the average age in Tanzania is 15.
Several people have asked me how I came to the decision to go to Tanzania. The full answer would take a long time to provide, so let me just hit the highlights.
Through the discipleship and mentoring from a dear friend, I was introduced to short term mission trips several years ago. I went on several here in Texas, working in the aftermath of hurricane Ike which hit Galveston.
Recently I read two incredible books..."Radical" by David Platt, and "Crazy Love" by Francis Chan. These books challenged me to really look at how I live my life as a Christ follower, and how I was investing in others.
I had to wrestle with the following facts
- The great commission (Matthew 28:19-20) is a command to all believers, not a call. Where we go and how long we stay is the call. As a Air Force veteran, I am familiar with commands. They require immediate and complete obedience. They are not optional.
- If you make $50k a year, you are wealthier than 99% of the people on this earth.
- The average income in Tanzania is $500/year
- Sub-Saharan Africa, home to just 12% of the world’s population, accounts for 2 out of every 3 people living with HIV
- Nearly 3 in 4 deaths related to AIDS occur in sub-Saharan Africa
- At least 3 of every 4 AIDS orphans live in sub-Saharan Africa
- 43.4 million orphans live in sub-Saharan Africa
To say that I am excited is a gross understatement. I feel the weight of responsibility to represent Jesus to these people and do so in a way that brings honor and glory to Him, not me.
Will you pray for us as we go?