I arrived in Seattle right on time last night to be greeted at the airport by my entire family. They tried to sneak up on me but that was a little difficult as Carol was carrying a bunch of "welcome home" balloons.
Thanks for staying abreast of my adventure in Africa during the past few weeks. I'm trying to think about how I will answer questions about the whole experience. I'm sure there will be opportunities for conversation but let me sign off on this blog with the following excerpt from my journal dated March first.
The mornings in Africa begin with a mixed chorus of dove's cooing and rooster's crowing. The air is cool and refreshing to the lungs. Small birds with sky blue bodies flit from twig to ground and back looking for breakfast.
Only two days separate me from the plane that will take me from Yabus back to Nariobi. I wonder what I will remember from my time in Africa. First will be the people, their smiles and singing. Their joy in the midst of such a difficult setting is hard for me to understand. Simple survival is a chore. Add years of war on top and life should be unbearable.
Yet, somehow the spirit of these people grasps the dusty, cracked land in which they live and the hand of God and pulls the two together. The Sudanese clearly understand what rebuilding their country will entail, and yet, they do not lose heart. And even though I have but glimpsed the tenaceous spirit of these people - as much as I do understand, I want to take back to America. The Dinka, Uduk, and Mabaan people don't readily speak of the horror and autrocity of war. The potential for tribalism to continue to divide the country is self evident, but instead of despair, they talk of sing of hope. Even when they are silent, you can still see hope on their faces or in their eyes. I wonder if I were in the same circumstances if I would have a Sudanese sized hope. I feel weak and insignificant next to these people. They fully understand how to rest fully on the rock in the midst of the storm.
A few days ago Anter prayed, "Our ears are tired of hearing gun shots and our feet are tired of running to safety." Peace is possible when people like these stop looking out merely for their own interests and also look out for the interests of others. Someone might shoot me if he wants my shirt unless I first say, "Here take my coat as well." A man who lives with abandonment as if to lose his very life will in the end save it. This way of living in the world makes absolutely no practical sense to those who rob the poor and leave them for dead. The teachers and students in the Sudanese Interior Church Secondary School are learning to practice these truths and will take what they have learned back to their villages to become leaders of hope for the future.
Grace and peace to you.