Wednesday, December 29, 2010

I'm finally going back and filling in all the blogs that didn't get posted nearly a year ago in Africa.
Starting at the beginning...

Feb 3, 2010
It was hard to tell whether we were rising to meet the sun, or the sun was rising to meet us.
I’m back on a plane home right now. One more night in my own bed.
Oregon is beautiful. I don’t realize how ugly Saint Louis is until I go somewhere wrapped in the splendor of natural beauty. No human made those mountains like a mural against the sky, or trees that stay green in the winter. Living near these things must spark a different state of mind. Being aware that we are a part of this earth upon which we were created more than a system of walls and concrete, services and technology. The American machine. Some people must be inspired by this, because it has continued to grow, and for many it makes sense to them that this is what they wrap their lives around. But I don’t find freedom in that entanglement. In our culture, we learn to live for the goals of our comfort and security, and that is what many work hard their whole lives for. I speak only for myself, but if this is all I live for on this earth, then I have lived in vain. God tells us to protect ourselves from being corrupted by the mindset and the ways of our world. Instead of telling us to lead safe, secluded lives, he tells us to spread His message of hope and redemption to those in messy situations, whether physically or mentally. Instead of telling us to care for ourselves, he tells is to care for those who are sick. Those who have lost husband or wife. Orphans. Instead of telling us to make sure we always have food for ourselves, he tells us to feed the hungry and provide for anyone in need. Any suffering from injustice in an EXTREMELY imbalanced world. God created us here on this earth to live in community with Him. His creation, and those around us. As humanity has fallen away from this purpose, He has continually, throughout history been calling us back to himself, then sending His people into the broken places of this world.
There have ALWAYS been suffering people just as there has ALWAYS been disease, war, unjust rulers and laws, hunger, orphans, widows.. And we have always been called into these areas. Like I said, I speak only for myself, but I don’t want to trade this for a life of security.
As for my time in Portland..
The people at Lahash are really wonderful and welcoming. They are well organized and have a clear vision and exemplary mission. Before last summer, their office only consisted of a small room in the basement of a church, but they have been given a huge, 100 year old house from which they are now operating. Much of the house is in pretty bad condition though, so they are in the process of renovating. During training, I watched some DVDs about serious issues facing sub Saharan Africa, such as crime and corruption, HIV/Aids, and also about daily life there. I was able to eat a couple East African style meals, which I think I will grow to like, and was able to learn a lot more about the history and mission of Lahash international in East Africa.
On Tuesday night, I was really, really excited to be able to see Joo Ai!  (For those of you who don't know, Joo Ae is my good friend from Korea. She just moved from StL to Portland to attend school there.) I visited her apartment and met several of her Korean friends, and her room mate from Houston. We ate Korean food and had a really great time! For those of you who have been worried or missing Joo Ae, she is doing really well and she is very happy in her new home!
I'm trying not to think too much about my departure on Thursday.. I have been trying not to think about it too much. For me it might be better that way. Save it for when the time comes :)
Feb 5 2010
This part of the journey is going to be tough for my spirit, isn’t it. Knowing that I am up in this big airplane over the Atlantic Sea and there is now way that I can turn around. I’m alone. I’m not going to meet a familiar face. I can’t even really call home once we land. And I question whether I chose to be gone for too long. Six weeks was nothing in Kansas City, but I had already settled in , could visit home, call text, facebook, email. At ANY time.
Then I think, that’s not like me, being so attached to home. I’m not like that.
But I’ve never flown to the other side of the world for a month and a half by myself before. I know You have a lot to teach me. I know there is comfort in the familiar and I decided to step away from that. I guess I’m just  feeling lonely.
Our plane is stopping to refuel in Rome, but it will be dark. That really stinks.
I need to want to be there more than I want to be at home. I’ve been wrestling with that a bit.
I think I’m flying over Italy right now. It’s dark outside and all I see is patches of light down there. I’ll see Rome at night in about an hour. I’ve tried to sleep a little bit, but I haven’t been as tired as I expected after staying up all night. I’ve been on this plane for about 7 hours now and haven’t really read much at all.. It’s been alright. I was super lucky to get 2 seats to myself so I can lay down.
Wow.. So we passed a stretch of cities, all lit up. The earth looked golden. Then black. They all ended at once.
I’m in Rome
Still on an airplane though.
As we were descending
A giant cloud burst into lightning
Over a million little lights and golden roads. I’ve never seen so many roads.
Feb 6, 2010
IF I have plenty of room, and IF there is a clear sky, and IF I can see out the window,
Then I can honestly say that flying on airplanes is one of my favorite things to do in the whole world.
I’ve had a great flight, despite the loneliness. I’ve been on this thing 13 ½ hours so far, and I’m really not in a big rush to get off.
I was able to sleep a lot. I got plenty to eat, and was startled with one of the most beautiful sunrises I’ve ever seen.
Flying over the Sudan and everything was still black. No light yet. So I’m reading something and I glance up and had to gasp. A bright red stripe sliced though the black. It gradually began to expand into blue, amber and gold.
I felt like I was in the Lion King.
Light slowly stretched out across miles of sand, revealing the Nile River, stretching to the horizon. The Sahel. Then a fiery red ball rose above the edge of the desert.
This is how God greets Africa good morning. Even though few live on that stretch of desert. Today I got to see it.
This is why I love flying on airplanes. Now I feel like I could sleep some more… 

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