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Friday, December 28, 2007

Previous lessons learned..Africa

I am "transcribing" my handwritten journal from my experiences in Africa as a teen, onto the computer. It is so amazing to go back and read and re-live the experience!  I haven't done this in forever!  I haven't even viewed my tons of pictures in over 15 years, as they are all slides, not photos. I need to get them onto a cd.

When I was 17 I was part of a missions trip, from the United Methodist Church, to Zaire. The purpose of our trip was to view different living situations and come back to the States and report on how our donations and how the UNICEF money was being spent.

I learned so much! We stayed in Lubumbashi, Mulunguishi, Kafabumba Pastor's School, Luena, Mulongo, Malemba, towns in between...(I haven't finished my notes yet for all the names) We stayed in bush villages, in cities, on a  river barge, visiting villages that had never before seen a  white person.

We visited a TB clinic, a leper colony. We traveled a bush pastor's church circuit, we swam in the river, caged off to protect us from Crocodiles, we had to take pills to ward off malaria.

Everything was foreign to my existence in middle class, suburban America. Not just the surface things like language, but foods, ways of life, cultural differences and overwhelming poverty and sickness.

I saw black children with yellowed hair from malnutrition, so many distended bellies from kwashiorker, held a premature baby that weighed less than 2 lbs.

Yet, everywhere we went, we were met with SINGING! Masses of natives would meet us as we landed, or arrived by car, at each destination. And they would sing to us for more than an hour, joyously.

The love of the Lord, as expressed by the missionaries and also through the natives, was astounding. These people lived solely by faith for provisions, for health, for everything...even the missionaries!

Looking back on my trip, I may not have been the best ambassador of the information upon my arrival home. But I assure you, that trip helped create the person I am today.

Some of the missionary families that we stayed with are lifelong 2nd and 3rd generation Missionaries. You can read their stories here: John and Kendra Enright & Kafakumba Training Center
David & Lori Persons, Llowell and Claudia Wertz.

I would encourage you, if you want to "adopt" a missionary, do a "good deed", support missions, etc, that these long term missionaries are THE REAL DEAL. Their work has touched thousands of lives directly, and by influence hundreds of thousands.

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