Thursday, May 3, 2012

My Africa!!!

I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. Psalm 121:1-2

“How was Africa?” has been the number one question I’ve heard all week long. I tried writing several blogs to give you snippets as an attempt to not bore you with an extremely long blog but none really captured the heart of my trip to the motherland, so “How was Africa??”

First of all, I was extremely disappointed by the anticlimactic welcome to Africa, instead of being greeted by lions, tigers and elephants, with the theme song “Circle of Life” playing in the background, there were drivers with name signs waiting for us to start our adventure on well paved road. And neither were there soldiers shooting everywhere senselessly nor starving children to greet us. What I encountered, instead, brought meaning to my soul and a completeness to my being. For the first time in my life, I stepped on the ground my ancestors once walked, farmed and possibly chased lions and tigers. I took a deep breath and my soul rejoiced and instantly I felt my ancestors said “I told you we would be back!” Oh man it was Black beauty everywhere! Every shade of blackness was well represented. They looked at me and smiled as if they’d known me all their lives. Many of them were disappointed that I did not speak the same language. One older woman said through a translator: “how come you look exactly like us but does not speak our language?” She became indignant as if saying I was African but pretending to be American, she wanted me to be myself and drop the act. And it was my pleasure to give a basic course on world history 101. She seemed to be saddened by the story of slavery as if it was the first time she was hearing the heinous nature of the slave trade. The truth is the people from the villages have never heard the story of slavery and migration and they seldom see other blacks coming to serve them, so I completely understood their lack of awareness.
And for the week, we drove up and down a slippery, muddied road to a mountain called Mt Elgon, an area west of Kenya near the Uganda border, sorry we did not see Kony, but what we did see was a group of women desperate for healing. These women were survivors of many years of war; either war over land or post-election dissatisfaction. Usually when we think of war, we think of two opposing sides shooting dead their enemy. However war on these mountains were beyond a shoot to kill, war on these mountains meant homes being burned, farms destroyed, men being castrated and women and children violently raped; with that kind of brutal fighting I would take a bullet to the head any day. But these women were survivors but you might as well call them “dead women survivors” because something inside of them died during the years of wars.
So for the week we partnered with an organization called ALARM and this organization’s sole purpose is to facilitate peace, reconciliation and healing between opposing groups. And guess what? These people are hungry for such a message because they have seen the other side of peace. We taught on everything dealing with trauma; what it is, how it affects a person, how it affects children and how to heal from its pain. Our prescription: healing from trauma is a journey and without Christ there is no healing. By the end of the week, these women were on fire and energized to take what they had learned to their communities. We believe some strong and powerful community activists were birthed out of that week.

Not only did something great happen to these women on those mountains but it also happened to me. I “found” myself in My Africa!!

Most heartfelt Moment: The most heartfelt moment was watching these women worship. These women have been abused, lost children and husbands and yet their worship needed no instruments; their hands and harmony were enough to lead them to our Father’s throne.

Most Inspiring Moment: The most inspiring moment was seeing these women strategizing of how they were going to use what they have learned in their communities. One by one, they stood up to share how they would respond to child abuse, lack of education, to orphans and widows. These women were ready for action.

Funniest Moment: The funniest moment occurred during a lunch conversation with three of the women wondering why I “only” had 3 children and what kind of family “family planning” I was using. Having 6-10 children is very common amongst these women.

Proudest Moments: My proudest moment was working side by side with the Africa Alarm staff. We blended really well together, as if we’ve known each other for years. Each morning, we would alternate who would lead the devotion for the day. I believe God was smiling on us loving, honoring and building each other.

Enjoy the Worship!

4 comments:

  1. Wow. I can imagine that this post barely scratched the surface of what you experienced. What inspires me is that if I had experienced an ounce of the trauma that these women have been through, I would be challenged to stand up straight, much less worship. Love them and love you! Thank you for sharing.

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    1. Vieven, you are so right! There are so many stories and so many lessons that I can share. I think God has birthed a new passion in me. Thank you for the prayers. I love you too.

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    2. Beautiful, Dieula. It is inspiring to see the many ways God uses you to encourage and equip others. The courage of the women you met is incredible to read about!

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    3. Thank you Meghan. I appreciate the encouragement!

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