Travel is my favorite thing in the world to do. Plane trips, road trips, boat trips, family trips; even just driving around the Dallas metroplex makes me happy. Being on the move is almost a must-do for me. I can’t sit still! I gotta go!
This is the paragraph where I get to brag and tell you all the places I’ve been. I am 20 years old and have covered 40 states. In Texas, my travels extend from Texarkana to El Paso and from Amarillo to Corpus Christi. My abroad travels include Canada, Mexico, Ireland, Northern Ireland and England (which I will get to further experience in 6 days as I take a Study Abroad class in Oxford). Actually, my only England experience so far has been in the London-Heathrow airport for a few hours, so I’m not sure that counts. During Study Abroad, we will hit up France, Germany and possibly a couple other places. Yep, when it comes to traveling, friends, I’ve been everywhere (so I like to think).
Aside from studying in Europe and a possible road trip to Wyoming this summer, there is one destination I have been waiting to arrive at for several years. This destination has eluded my arrival ever since I was an early teenager. I have seen my family go seven times and have even been promised to be taken along, but those promises have come up short. I tried to go last summer, but my unprepared plans fell through. I am talking about Africa; poor, desolate, vibrant, beautiful, hungry, malnourished, majestic, wonderful Africa. On July 28, I will be on my way to Mozambique by way of Beltway Park Baptist Church for a mission trip with Iris Ministries. Finally, Africa is firmly in my sights.
But this coin has two sides. Sure, my shot at Africa has been assured, but why I’m going to the Motherland is far greater in purpose than a simple, selfish travel experience. Our trip is entirely focused on the people of Maputo. My team and I are staying at the children’s home which has around 500 children whose parents have died, abandoned them or have AIDS. Some of these kids were sold as slaves and prostitutes, even at toddler’s age. Our job and mandated mission is to love these kids with all our hearts by praying over them, eating with them, playing games and telling them about what Jesus did for them. But our service is not limited to the orphanage. Teams will be assembled to go into the hospitals and the streets of Maputo to evangelize and pray over the sick. The city dumps will be a hot spot as we sit in the trash with the poor who have nothing and no one. We are going all-out. I am longing for the culture shock and the rugged conditions of seeing widespread poverty, hunger and lack. I have always had a heart for mission work and I hope to continue it my entire life.
But one thing we will keep in mind, the ones we are serving are greater than we are. Yes I said it. The naked, hungry, diseased homeless man in the dumps is better than I am. I will be there to learn from him, not vice versa. Complete humility is the goal for me; the people of Mozambique have already achieved that. Africa is the birthplace of humility and lowliness which are two of the greatest qualities when talking about the Kingdom of Heaven. My team and I are servants of an inverse Kingdom that cannot be shaken. Who can stand against it?
My favorite quote of all time comes from an athlete-turned-missionary, C.T. Studd. The English cricketer served as a missionary in China, India and Africa from the late 1800’s to the early 1900’s. He famously said:
“Some wish to live within the sound of church or chapel bell; I want to run a rescue shop within a yard of hell.”
On paper, Africa will be another box that is checked on my list of places to go. In eternity, Africa will go further than I have ever been. Happy trails.