Monday, October 13, 2008

The hardest part

The hardest part for me of any overseas trip is coming home.  

It has little to do with jet lag and having to convince your body that it must yet again switch time zones.

It has little to do with that little bug that gives your belly a hard time in the first few weeks.

It has everything to do with the heart, and it usually takes me a few days to recognize how wrecked I am when I get back.

17 of us spent the last two weeks experiencing the highest of highs and the lowest of lows.  We saw joy lived fully, we saw love extended, we saw poverty at its depths, and we saw how corruption impacts a country...a district...a village community...a ministry...a child...us.

And with these highs of highs and lows of lows, we have so many stories, so many faces, so many inside jokes, and so many hurts.  Most of which are hard to put into words.  We come back all geared up to share these stories, we think about them all week, we can't wait to tell people how awesome it was...and then it strikes us...we don't know HOW to tell them how awesome it was.

We are changed.  We can't tell you how.  All we can say is that poverty is no longer an abstract idea, but it has the name of Timothy, Geoffrey, Jennifer...and so many more.  We embraced kids who live in conditions unimaginable to us, we walked the streets filled with sewage and had to face our own fears when encountering Kibera.  

The hardest part of coming home, is trying to figure out how our changed selves fit into the life we left two weeks ago.  It is difficult for family to embrace the new us, it is difficult for us to embrace our warm showers and very comfortable beds when we know how people living in the 3rd world are lucky to have a blanket or a mattress.  We have a hard time when our kids whine because they want a different color of crocs, when in reality I saw kids with no shoes this past week.  We are changed, and the challenge now is to figure out how our changed self continues on in the world God has chosen us to live in.

The challenge is to not judge others.
The challenge is to not go back to our old selves.
The challenge is to figure out how God would use the new us to impact the sphere of influence He has placed us in, and how we can motivate change in the 3rd world.  That is the hardest part.

5 comments:

Joey Hansen said...

Wow... well put, Pam. I have never gone on such a mission, but I can imagine that I'd come back irrevocably "wrecked" for the better. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Pye's In Haiti said...

AMEN!! One of the hardest things about missions, is going back changed in an unchanged world.

Brian Williams said...

Well said.
Praying for you all.

EMB* said...

Crying. AGAIN. UGGGGGGGGGG!
Very well said... and dont be surprised if I bogart some of your thoughts! :-) Miss ya!
E*

Mary M. said...

Wow, you expressed it perfectly! Thanks for putting words to the feelings many of us are feeling and have felt!