I've been back from Africa-Rwanda- for one week. The whole experience was amazing, humbling, frightening and uncomfortable all rolled into one. The "Post Africa Depression" hit me yesterday- I think because I finally had time to sit still long enough to think. What i write next may not make sense to anyone (not even to me!) but that's okay. I will likely be processing for years..I may never know this side of heaven all that I learned from Rwanda.
I went to Rwanda scared to death God would call me to live there. Not exactly why I thought that but I did. It didn't take me very long after we landed for me to realize this was not my calling. I can't explain it but I felt really uncomfortable, out of place, like I didn't belong there. The people were nice but Rwandans are generally distrustful of people they don't know- who can blame them? Their own neighbors murdered 1million people in 100 days. I was quickly reminded how this earth is not our home and that we are aliens in this land. I felt like an alien- I didn't belong there. I wrote in my journal, "God called me to go, not to stay."
One of the things we were first told when we arrived will forever be stamped into my heart...I pray I never forget it. "People are not going to remember what you said or what you did. They will remember how they felt when they were with you." I had an amazing experience at the orphanage (i blogged about it at www.voiceforrwanda.org/blog , "The Power of Touch") This statement summed up my orphanage experience.
I spent a lot of time during the trip wondering why I came, why God had brought me all this way to rwanda..and to be honest, I may never know. But I do know this: I'm not the same. Africa changes your view of everything. I think everyone needs to go to Africa just to get a dose of perspective. Things are much slower there, not hectic. People are grateful for help, there are pockets of hope visible in the midst of one of the worst acts of evil ever committed.
Here's what i wrote while I was on the plane: "My heart's desire is that I will not come back the same, that I will have a deeper love for the Lord, for his children, a passion for orphan work, a changed heart, new eyes, and a new vision." I am definitley not the same...and I will seek Him to find me.