Posted by: JennyRain | June 28, 2007

Homecoming

Saturday I return to Zambia, Africa. My teammate Arlie and I agree that it is like coming home every time we step off of the plane in Africa. Our hearts expand and our breath takes on a new dimension as the depths of Spirit-filled Shalom and contentment refill our lungs.
 
Waiting to Exhale
That is how I am feeling as I await the touchdown of the soles of my feet on African soil again. I have never understood why Africa felt like home when I arrived in 2005, it just did.

Our mission leader at that time, Pastor Jimmy, was heart-broken that it was not a mountaintop “God” experience and he prayed fervently that God would show up in a tender way for me. My Abba did with His presence and the sense of “dwelling” that I felt while I was there. It did not feel like I had traveled twenty-five hours to go to another country. It just felt like home, a place I had returned to, a place I could dwell in, a place I could get comfortable and be myself in… like home.

Delayed…

Though my more “permanent” departure as a Mid-term missionary in the horn of Africa has taken a decided Selah for this season of my life, the burning to just “be there” has not abated in me. For now, seminary. For later, my prayers still include Africa.

I am ok with this waiting season. I am ok with Africa across the seas and me in Greensboro. I am ok praying for a desire that has not yet been fully realized, content to rest in the arms of my Father until then and enjoy the shorter tastes of Africa when I can get them and content to re-memory trips that I am able to take.

Unexpected Teachers

 

I am most looking forward to seeing known faces and meeting new ones. 2005 remembrances have taken center stage as I prepare for this year’s journey.

 

This is Eliot (pronounced Aye-Lee-Aht). He was one of our first friends in the village of Kubuyu in 2005 and walked the entire morning to shake our hands. His radiance and conviction of love for God and others was an inspiration to our entire team and we have continued to talk about him ever since.

Eliot forced me to wrestle with abject poverty paired with great joy. My greatest irritation has historically been when missionaries return from short-term journeys and say something like this:

Oh my gosh, they had nothing! But they were so happy!

I cannot stand that statement. I dislike it because it allows the first-world to over-romanticize poverty and remain comfortably numb to its effects. Poverty still kills, it still causes disease, and it still hinders our fellow humans from living a full and abundant life.

Eliot was able to exist fully in the reality of his present while staying infinitely hopeful for the Kingdom that is coming for him. He did not deny where he was living, He simply allowed his future reality to eclipse his present pain. Eliot inspired me, he caused me to wrestle with myself, with God, and with the reality I was experiencing. I hope I see Eliot again, I still have so much still to learn.

Teaching or Taught?

So Saturday we return. My assignment is “teacher” and I have been assigned to minister to the women in 3 villages. Last time, I told them my story, gave them my teaching, shared my wisdom. This time, my heart is longing to hear who they are, where they have come from, what God has done in their lives.

I long to go home to Africa. I long to see the Kingdom of God that is “already and not yet” appearing in Zambia in people like my teacher Eliot. I do not have any expectations and for the first time, I have not set out an abundance of plans. I go, with myself, my bible, and an open heart in hopes of connecting with the Zambians. I hope to dwell again… to learn… to give… and to wait. In Africa.

Prayer Requests for our team

 Good health, travel mercies for the team on the way there and back. (June 30-July 12) 


  1. No distractions from the work that God has given us to do… good focus.
  2. That we, as a team, would see how God is working and join Him in His work in Africa so that we can make a Kingdom impact.
  3. That I would personally experience God in new ways & that it would be an encouragement to my faith back in America.
  4. That God would clarify His vision for me about Africa and my role there in future years.
  5. That our words “would not fall to the ground” as we go out into the villages to minister.
  6. That our feet “would bring the good news of the gospel” (I may do some prayer-walking in one of the villages)
  7. That we would be teachable and our hearts open, and that God would open our eyes to His work of holistic salvation in others (body, mind, spirit, soul).
  8. That we would “join arms” with the Zambians and feel God’s freedom and purpose in our lives.

 

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