Friday, July 8, 2011

10,000 Miles From Home

The last several months my thoughts have been filled with plans for a trip to the "dark continent" of Africa. Soon I will find myself packing and boarding a plane for a very long journey of 10,000 miles one way to reach my destination in the country of Tanzania.

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 
I have felt a very real call to go on this short term trip to share the love of Christ in practical ways with people I have never met. I hope to be able to meet some physical needs. I have been asked to preach in a village on Sunday, and lead some training for male church leaders in 2 different districts.

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?

No comments: