Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Africa: Coming Back

"So when they were sent away, they went back to Antioch…" -Acts 15:30
Pardon my preoccupation with Africa for a while, but we've just returned from a phenomenal trip there and I'm still adjusting, both emotionally and physically. The time in Maun, Botswana was a tremendous time of ministry and friendship for the team of eleven that made the journey and with my brother-in-law, Brian. I know I need to turn the page and be all back in Branson. But I don't want to move on too quickly. I want to be sure I've soaked up and downloaded every last drop of our experience. I want to be sure we all take the lessons learned and make them matter where we live. Mission trips always seem to follow the same pattern: months of preparation that go by slowly, the trip arrives, and then a phenomenal time that flies by. Suddenly, we're sitting back in our offices and wondering if the trip ever really happened. Life just happens too quickly. It seems our circumstances change way ahead of our emotions. I bet Paul went through a bit of the same emotions in his day. As he returned from his missionary journeys, he always came back to his home church at Antioch and shared about what God was doing "out there." Then he was always ready to go back. That's where I am today. I'm really missing Africa. I'm missing Brian. I'm missing the team. I'm missing lots of things. African sunrises. Every morning we woke, grabbed coffee or hot chocolate and went to the back porch of Brian's home in Maun. Twenty yards from his porch flows the Thamalakane River and it is absolutely beautiful. Watching the sun rise over it's banks and listening to the silence was the perfect way to start a day. The people. This trip was less about projects and animals and more about the precious people of Botswana. Forgive my spelling, but Lingani, Kefilwe. Lovemore, Maprince, and so many others were a blessing to meet and become friends. The people of Maun are friendly and respectful. They have a need for Jesus just like the people of America and are eager to share God's truth with their fellow countrymen. Brian. He is such an inspiration to me personally and to the entire mission team. He slowly and methodically pours his heart and soul into the people of Maun. Every day Brian led a Bible study or a small group with the people of the church. He took a few of the team with him to each study and we observed the richness of relationship that he has earned with the people. Thank you Brian for your example to us all. The team. There were eleven of us that made the trip to Botswana. The comradery of the team was amazing. Everyone served selflessly and poured their hearts and soul into the building projects and into the people. It was truly the body at work and it was beautiful to watch. You'll be hearing more about the trip in the blogs to come. More than anything, I want the legacy of the trip to be in how we carry out our lives back here in the States. Brian's great work continues in Africa. May our work be just as intentional wherever we live. By Eric Joseph Staples © www.parentingyourteen101.com

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