Monday, February 22, 2010

Africa Trip, Part 11: Love Stinks

If you’re a child of the eighties, I’m sure you can remember that song. And if you are not a child of the eighties then I can only hope that you’ve seen the whatever brand of trash bag commercial so you can play the tune over and over again in your head and it will always remind you of the pictures that I’m about to share.

Honestly, I can tell you that I really didn’t have any desire to go to the dump. By this point in the trip, I was ready to go home. I had already had an episode of what I'll call "mission trip meltdown" the night before and I was done. Anyhoo, what would we be the point of going in there for one day and then walking away from children that have to stay there and are dependent on the local garbage truck for “fresh” food. We would just walk away from them and they wouldn’t be any better for our visit. And I would just walk away with the memory of another hungry child in the most desperate of situations. I was wrong. Many lives were touched on this day through love, prayer, provision of food and salvation. But mostly our lives were changed on this day through His grace, His blessing, His presence and His call.

This is the dump. We thought we were going to a dump. We were wrong. It was a landfill. I would love to tell you how big it was but I never saw the starting and stopping point. It was that big and there are no words to describe the smell. You pray to God and say, really God, really? I can't do this. And He says...My Grace is sufficient for you: for My strength is made perfect in your weakness.

Meet Blessing. Yes, that's his name.

From the fullness of His grace we have all received one blessing after another.

His Presence.

How lovely is Your dwelling place, O Lord.

All I can say about the picture above is that some of us are southern baptist which means...have flannelgraph/will travel. This is Nancy from Alabama. She knows how to tell a Bible story and reminded me of Nikki Witt. (Sidebar for TSC members: Aren't we all glad that Nikki Witt is bringing her flannelgraph back to TSC?)

Our team was able to provide them a traditional meal of "fresh" goat for their Ethiopian Christmas dinner. (When I say "fresh" I mean slaughtered on sight.)

The boy on the right can now claim: The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear.

Yes, that's me with the feed 1 shirt on. This is a very special picture that I didn't even pay any attention to until we got home. It's not special because of what we're doing, it's special because of the girl in the green shirt. That's Sumer. We've been working side by side in my ministry for the last two years. And on this day, she clearly heard God's call and now I have a picture of us serving side by side in her ministry. While some people (myself included) were ready for this day to end. She wanted to come back the next day and the day after that and the day after that...She is taking her family back to Africa this summer to work with these children. I'm sure this won't be my last post about Sumer spending her summer at the dump:) Go read Isaiah 61:1-3...that's the plan.

P.S. This is my final big installment about Africa. I have some silly stuff to share like "mission trip meltdown" and some funny pictures of me consuming foreign food that I will share in the future but this is the final big story.

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Nicole @ Four Real said...

Wow. The pictures seem unimaginable I cant even think of seeing that in person. Thanks for sharing your journey. :)

Cindy said...

Thanks for all these posts. I am one of your readers and I have enjoyed each and every one. :-)

Me said...

Your best post yet. Love does stink. And I'm proud to say, I knew that song when it was cool.


Erin said...

Aw, I'm sad to see the "big posts" about your trip to Africa come to a close. I have loved getting to see even little glimpses of what it was like. The good thing is that now that our friend in the green shirt will be there, there will be many posts and stories to come. (I thought the exact same thing about you being side by side in her ministry when I saw that picture!)
And how can we not eagerly await the "mission trip meltdown" story? ;)

Anonymous said...

As soon as I saw Sumer, even from the back, it is obvious that she is enjoying her time there. She looks like she is telling one of her stories with her hands. ;) There will be so many more posts coming soon about Sumer in the dump, but I thank you for warning me that you are finished posting. =)

Thanks for sharing your heart and being honest about smells too. =0)


Sumer said...

I always loved that picture because your "Feed 1" is showing, and it makes me laugh to think about you trying to tear that goat bone in half!!

But then you had to talk about side-by-side in ministry, and that brings tears to my eyes!

And did I ever tell you thanks for taking me to Africa with you? It was good time...meltdown and all!

Tabby said...

I knew I should have taken a picture of you with the chicken in a Can't wait to read your version of the mission trip meltdown. Good times :-)!!