July 16, 2012
"How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of the messenger who brings
good news, the good news of peace and salvation, the news that the God
of Israel reigns!" Isaiah 52:7
Africa lies nearly half a world away from the good ol' US of A. Forty-eight hours passed from the time our team left the Lone Star State to the time we arrived in Rwanda. With little sleep on the plane(s) I arrived to our destinations feeling like a zombie (and looking like one too).
While waiting to board
the plane to Nairobi, Kenya from London I noticed many mzungu's (that's
African for "white people") in line. From their matching attire I identified at least three Christian groups. My heart filled with warmth at the thought of God moving so many feet to bring good news to Africa. And while I want to believe that God
used each of the American teams to accomplish His purpose in Africa, I
can't help but to consider how much He used the beautiful feet of Africans to accomplish His purpose
I wonder if your impressions of Africa prove similar to the preconceived notions I had before I traveled to this beautiful land. Inept at geography I failed to remember much from grade-school about the world's second-largest continent. I simply thought of Africa as a place where people went without food and proper shelter; a place overrun with fighting and barbaric practices; a place deep in need of the hope and love of Christ. And while many of those preconceived notions proved true, I realized a heart and spirit about Africa that exceeded my wildest dreams.
God moved in Africa in ways I've never before seen Him move in America. Many Africans have endured vicious crimes against them and their families; many of them live in conditions which would prove fatal to you and me; many of them feel blessed to have even one meal per day--one meal of rice, beans and potatoes. Some of our national ministry partners there continue to go without food. But still these believers praise the Lord with all their being. They know and depend on God at a level I believe few Americans--myself included--will ever experience.
One of the women said to me through a translator, "If we and our children wake up in the morning we know it is by God's grace. We praise Him because He let us live another day."
Ever lived with that kind of gratitude?
I fell in love with Africa but I question why. It's just me--a mzungu from America, a cowgirl (as the Africans called me) from Texas. Why do my heartstrings feel such a tug to return? I believe it is because in Africa I experienced God like never before. God moves in America but oftentimes we're too busy to take notice. In Africa, there's not much to distract. False religion, yes. But when the power of God begins to work in an African heart, the glory of God is evident for all to see.
I thought we were the ones God intended to send to Africa with "beautiful feet" (Isaiah 52:7). But it was the feet of the African women and children to which I found myself most attracted. Feet which rise to praise God for allowing them to awake another day. Feet which carried them 3 hours daily each way to attend Bible study. Feet which stand firm in faith regardless of what comes their way.