“I live in Africa,” my child says to the woman, as she smiles knowingly, as if to say, “My, what an imagination you have.” “It’s true. We do live in Africa. We’re just home on vacation.” “Oh really,” she says, now slightly amused. “It must be exciting for you.”
My Africa is not the Africa of excitement. There are no elephants, no wildebeests, no zebras. There is brown and red, dirt and sand, heat and sweat mingled with the dust. My Africa is not the Africa of mud huts and dirt floors either, although the mud huts and dirt floors are merely a stone’s throw from my front door. No, we have cement floors and running water, electricity and even internet access. Yet my Africa is an Africa where 1 out of every 4th child dies, where people come to my door to ask for help because their spouse has died of AIDS and they’ve just given birth to stillborn twins, but there are still five other mouths to feed at home… and no one else will help. My Africa is a place where I sometimes shake my head with disbelief and wonder if we can go on, until the Lord gently whispers that His grace is sufficient and that His will shall be done… even in spite of my frailty and my failings. My Africa is a place where in spite of the disappointments, I take hope as I stand with national believers gathered at the graveside of one of their faithful, and hear the words of testimony come forth in the Hausa tongue, “I remember when I first arrived in 1969, he was one of the first Christians here, and he took me in…” Surely the Lord is faithful, even in hard times. My Africa is our home, even when the words of my wife both break my heart and strengthen my faith: “As I struggle with how temporal my concerns are, as I wish we didn’t have to give up fresh berries and peaches, the grocery store, family and friends. As we struggle with the self-pity and the feelings of loss over things we’ve left behind to come here, I realize that I can put these on the altar, because Jesus is worth it…”
My Africa is filled with interrupted nights and seemingly endless heat… of incredible need and limited resources… of too much to do and not enough time to do it all. My Africa is where my neighbors are my friends and colleagues, where we struggle as much to keep ourselves fed spiritually as we do to feed others, where we laugh, cry, work, and play together. My Africa is where we call home because Jesus is worth it, and because My Africa needs my Savior as much as I do.
-- Kendrick Lau, Guest Blogger