June 26, 2011

Packing for Africa and an Empty Box




A year ago this is what my bed looked like:
I was surrounded by Ziploc baggies, dryer sheets and clothing.  Little pieces of paper were fluttering around in the breeze of the fan and I was trying my darnedest to remember to put the cap on the Sharpie after I used it every time so I didn't color on my bedspread.  The scent of lavender in the air was pleasant as I sorted and organized my outfits for the upcoming trip - putting each one into its own bag with a dryer sheet to keep it fresh-smelling.  What I didn't know was that when I returned from Africa I would rebuke those dryer sheets.  I didn't know that I'd leave my (mostly) unpacked suitcase laying open on the sofa in our room for over a month just so I could smell Africa every time I walked by it. 
I didn't know that I would come back missing a vital organ: my heart. 
It's been (almost exactly) a year since my trek to Ghana, West Africa.  (You can start reading day 1 of my journey if you haven't read it yet, then follow the sidebar links to the other days)  I knew going into this journey that it would change my life, but I didn't know the effect would be so long-lasting.  I mean, I had hoped it would be, but (and those of you that have been on short-term missions know) I figured it would wear off after a few months. I felt inside-out-upside-down-turned-around when I came back and I have to say, I still get those feelings a year later.  I can't keep my mind off of Africa. 
I can't stop thinking about Father's House
I can't get these sweet little faces out of my head.
      
My dear friend (and co-founder of Father's House) is heading back to Ghana in a few days and I thought about sending him with an empty box.  That way he'd have something to put my heart in when he found it there, and he could bring it back to me here in the States.  But I'm not giving him a box, even though I know he would totally take it if I asked him to.  I kind of love that my heart is in Africa.  I wouldn't feel right if it were anywhere else.  So I've tossed the empty box in the recycle bin and look forward to the day my husband gets to visit the place that stole my heart.  And I look forward to the day my son gets to meet the kids that will teach him how to play a mean game of futbal.  And I look forward to the day our family sets off on the journey together, following God's call for our lives. 
Until then, my bed looks like this:
 
And that makes my heart happy... even if it is all the way across the ocean.