Friday, February 27, 2015

Africa has changed me

All life experiences change us. We come out better, stronger, hurt, wounded, enlightened, or somehow changed. As I was meeting with a friend a few weeks ago I realized that I have changed in ways I had not thought about before. And not just in how we did things or the tans we got.

First there were the obvious changes when we first got back. We used different phrases such as trousers instead of pants, the trash can was the rubbish, and we used a few Swahili phrases with our boys.

My concept of "dressed nicely" had changed. For my Ugandan friends, there was no "latest fashion." To be dressed nice had to do with clothes that fit and were clean, not stained or ripped or showed wear. Modesty also looks different over there. I brought back a lot of their definition of modesty with me.

But time has passed. And in many ways, Africa feels so far away again. I have returned to saying "come here" to my boys instead of the Swahili word. I am back to struggling with the concept of need vs. want, as the American culture defines it. And my diet has completely returned to pre-Africa.

Culture changes us, not just international travel. When we went to live in MS we heard "y'all" everywhere, and it quickly became a part of our vocabulary. Just like culture changes us, the Word of God can, and should change us. We have found as we have engaged scripture we are not the same as we were before. This was so clear with the pastors we worked with in Uganda. It was a blessing to see Jesus come into their lives in new ways and in new places, even as He was doing that same thing in us.

As we look toward moving into Beni, Congo, we get excited about the transformation that will come. We cling to Is 55:10-11.

“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven
    and do not return there but water the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
    giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, 
 so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
    it shall not return to me empty,

but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
    and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

We know that HIS Word brings change. And we can't wait to see it! Thank you for being a part of this. Please keep praying for the Lord to make a way for His Word to transform lives in Beni. Pray for peace so that we, and other missionary families who are waiting to go in, may move forward and settle into the work to be done. 

Also, pray that YOU will allow the Word of God to change you. Are you open to what He might want to change in you? Seek and ask. God will show you how you can be a little more like Him, even today.