It’s about eight o’clock in the morning and I haven’t slept yet. After a pretty adrenaline-filled pre-boarding adventure in Toronto (just watch our first vlog), we flew over the ocean and finally arrived in Amsterdam. The excitement and anticipation of what lies ahead keeps me awake. We’re on our way to Johannesburg.
This will be my fourth time on a trip that we have, for years now, affectionately called the Africa Learning Team. Because of this, I feel like I know some of what we can expect; and this completely changes my appreciation for the journey.
I already know that I am going to be in awe of the beauty of our world through God’s meticulous creation. I already know that the people we are going to have the privilege of interacting with are going to welcome us with open arms and incredibly generous hearts. I already know that my own heart is going to break—again—over the hardships that I will see. Hardships that I don’t fully understand and won’t ever have to live through. I already know that despite these hardships, I will meet some of the most joy-filled people on the planet. I already know that this change in my life’s rhythm will have me in a head space where I am more alert to the presence of God. And I already know that I will come home with renewed conviction: that the work we are investing in as a church is worth spending my whole life advocating for. I already know all of this.
So why am I going? Again?
Because this trip is not about me. It’s not about increasing my own personal knowledge. It’s not about facilitating the opportunity for the personal growth of others on the trip. I am going—we are going—because of a commitment that we made as a church years ago. We decided that we would intentionally link ourselves to people and organizations who are doing great work in an area of the world where there is significant hardship, as well as a significant number of our extended BIC family.
We are going because we believe that linking arms is more than us stretching ourselves in radical financial generosity to extend compassion to people who most of us will never meet. It also involves taking time out of our schedules to go and physically be present with the people behind the partnerships. To show up in the flesh and reinforce that we care just as much today as we did all those years ago. To remind us as a church that despite all that we already know there is still a lifetime of learning left before we fully grasp the depth of compassion that Jesus calls us to as we seek to follow him and be more like him.
This is why we are going, and this is why we invite you to join us. We hope that through our words, photographs, and videos, you will become more aware of the incredible stories, unique personalities, and familiar faces that make up these incredible relationships.