Forgive me for stating the obvious but Africa is very far away from TN. If the little LCD TV maps on the Brussels Airlines 767 are to be believed then I began writing this somewhere over Sudan. It’s so amazingly beautiful down there. It’s fascinating for me to think that someplace so perfectly crafted can harbor some of the worst atrocities in recent memory.
Somewhere down there, in the beauty of the land, are people whose lives are affected deeply by genocide, poverty, blood diamonds, civil war, dictators, rebel armies, and starvation. From up here it looks beautiful. I wonder if God takes in this view very often. I would love to. It’s a glimpse of the way things were, and hint of what they will one day be.
The great news is that the folks we’re traveling with at Compassion International are on the scene. In reading some of the information they’ve provided me I can say with confidence that they might not be able to solve these global problems, but they are sure putting a flag in the ground for the Lord. Ultimately He will return, and when He does justice is high on the priority list. This will all be made perfect again. In the meantime, it’s you and I and an organization like Compassion gives us a rallying point.
The further you get from the US, the more remote and foreign it feels. Every thing is different. The food, the signs, the sounds, even the bathrooms are different. I wonder if this is how Jesus must have felt visiting our planet. That thought was not lost on me as we flew near the spots where he made His earthly home. My journey is a 26 hour trip via plane, his was a 9 month journey through the body of an unwed teen.
26 hours of traveling definitely takes it’s toll on you physically but also mentally. I wrote on my laptop till the battery died, I read until my mind was fried, and then found myself so impossibly bored that I actually watched a Jackie Chan movie that was playing on the plane.
I’ve never watched a Jackie Chan movie before, and don’t plan on doing it again anytime soon but it served the purpose that it was designed for which was to take time. (It’s important to note that I didn’t enjoy the movie, I just observed in much the same way that you observe clouds out the window. )
On the way to the landing strip I was taken with how dark it was on the ground. The sun had gone down and so we were landing at night. I’m not sure where the nickname the “dark continent” came from, but landing in Rwanda and again in Uganda it was just dark. Even in the most remote parts of the US there are lights scattering the horizon. Not here. Just darkness.
And now as I sit here in my hotel in Kampala with the window open I’m now taken with the silence outside. On the drive from the airport the city was positively alive with people everywhere. This is a city of a million people and it seemed like most of them were hanging out on the road from the airport. Admittedly it’s 2 in the morning here, but there is no one on the streets below. Zero. Nobody. Silent.
Tomorrow I’ll get to meet some new folks and make some new friends. We’re going to visit some of the sites that Compassion is working with. I’m stocked with bubbles, toys, the Holy Spirit and an open heart.
In a place this quiet, this dark, surely Gods voice is clear. I can’t wait to hear what He has to say.