Monday, August 13, 2012


What do you do with an experience like my trip to Burundi, when your bag full of souvenirs and hundreds of photos just don't tell the story adequately? When you only got a slight glimmer yourself of life in Burundi during those two weeks and didn't really know what to make of it? When you saw God at work in your very midst but missed out on much of it because you didn't know the language or the culture? What do you do with all that?

You process. You pray that the Lord will give you the understanding you need as you need it. You seek to keep a tender heart and an open mind so that you are can sort out your feelings and impressions, and so that you can grasp a bit of what is happening in the world (because, once you've immersed yourself in a place like Burundi, you are moved to tears when you hear a story from Haiti or see the joy on the faces of worshippers in Korea; you just can't help it). And you begin to seek ways to more authentically love and serve others.

When you get a chance, you tell someone a story or insight that came out of the trip. You try to whet their appetite so that they will want to experience it for themselves or so they will at least want to hear more. You tell total strangers, "I just got back from Africa!" and they rejoice with you for a moment.

But time passes, and now, after almost a month, I can't say I "just" got back from Africa. The memories will dim. The team members I shared this with have gone back to their lives of school or work or family and I don't know when I'll see them again. The widows have stepped back into their daily reality of feeding their families, raising their children, working their gardens.

I love camp, but the truth is, when camp is over and you go back home, you've got to figure out what to do with your new experiences and insights, how to incorporate them into the life you have. Just maybe you have to give up some of that old life to make room for the new. That's what you have to do after a trip like this too.

Even as I continue to process, to be changed by this adventure, I'll be sharing on this blog, at church, and in the community in the upcoming weeks. I didn't just go for myself, you know; I went for you too. When the dust settles you may find that you have some processing to do as a result of the trip I took!

Maybe that's how this whole thing is supposed to work.

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