I have been dragging my feet on posting. Why? Because for one, we spent about a week getting over jet-lag, and two, anything I write now will be a complete letdown. Not that life in AZ is terrible...in fact, it really is quite the opposite. We have had a great time reconnecting with family and friends, playing, driving, etc... :) But, it just seems so commonplace compared to posts about the slums, and sweet orphans, and petting baby elephants. But, all good adventures must come to an end at some point, or you wouldn't have know them to be adventures, right? So, to fully contrast I was going to make this post about the fact that our family is now diaper-less (definitely NOT accident-less...serious-patience testing over here!) for the first time in over three years. I could lament about the painstaking process that potty training my precious, and very headstrong little boy is, but I'll spare you those details and attempt a post that is somewhere in between.
As we have been adjusting back to normalcy, there are a lot things we miss. It's funny how our trip has changed us in little ways. For example, T dropped his spoon from his sample on the floor of Trader Joe's and I just told him to pick it without even a courtesy "wipe off on my shirt" and use it again. The clerk looked at me horrified, and I just replied, "We just got back from spending two months in Africa." She didn't realize that the floor was far cleaner than the bath water T kept injesting in Kenya. So we are a little more laid back. I have also been a lot more mindful of people who are from other countries and have tried to be more friendly. I spent a while talking to a Bangladeshi Walmart clerk today and gave my email to a family from Ghana with a three year old. Pre-Kenya, I probably wouldn't have noticed them or taken the time to talk, and it has been a blessing to be more intentional. I love hearing about others' experiences and countries, and I know what it's like to be the foreigner now, too. It can be pretty isolating.
We are also strategizing some ways right now to keep our family involved in serving the "least of these." I have been reading The Hole in The Gospel by Richard Stearns and it has been rocking my world. I have learned unbelievable things (like the fact that if you make $50,000 per year you are wealthier than 99% of people in the world) and I have more importantly been reminded of God's heart for the poor and vulnerable, and how my faith requires a response from me regarding the suffering of people in our world (both here and across the oceans.) This bringing of the kingdom is the essence of the gospel, and if I really believe it then I really need to act. Stearns addresses the passage of the sheep and the goats (Matt. 25:31-46) and how the passage doesn't say things like, "I needed clothes, but you needed more clothes" p. 59. Ouch!
I feel more moved than I did 3 months ago because now I picture actual faces when I hear statistics and read stories. I am excited for the documentary they filmed while we were there to be released, so others (hopefully including you) will be able to picture faces as well. Because all of the numbers we hear about really are people, vulnerable people like us. Anyway, I would highly recommend you read the book, but here are a few quotes he used to whet your appetite...
"The worst sin towards our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them; that's the essence of inhumanity." - George Bernard Shaw
"Sometimes I would like to ask God why he allows poverty, suffering, and injustice when he could do something about it." "Well, why don't you ask Him?" "Because I am afraid he would ask me the same question." - Anonymous
"Christ has no body on earth but yours,
no hands but yours, no feet but yours,
yours are the eyes through which
Christ's compassion for the world is to look out;
Yours are the feet with which He is to go about doing good;
and yours are the hands with which He is to bless us now."
- St. Teresa of Avila