Writing a blog on a weekly basis has been therapeutic for me in many ways. I view it as a journal of sorts to help me process my experiences, my relationship to God and others, and the ministry in which I'm involved. I usually write it over the weekend. Many of you have said that you enjoy reading it Monday mornings as you get back into the office and into a work routine. So for me that means that usually Friday night or Saturday morning, I am figuring out what to write and writing it; editing it Sunday evening, and then publishing Monday morning.
Sometimes ideas come easily. Sometimes I have several ideas and I save them as drafts, to return to them later when ideas come a bit slower. I try to write about my family, my faith, and my work. But other times, it is difficult to know what to say. I try to share about the ministry, its joys and challenges, but not bring the ever-present need for support which allows this ministry to continue. I worry about wasting your time. I worry about not taking enough time to write with clarity or with a depth that God might want me to use in such a forum.
But mostly I worry about misrepresenting Africa, its people, its beauty, its culture, and its struggles. I have to be politically correct. And I don't always like being politically correct.
There are stories that I could tell you that would keep you up at night. There are stories that I could tell you that would make you worry about me and others who work in Africa. There are stories that I could tell you that would break your heart about what so many people go through in various parts of Africa. These are real stories. These are difficult stories. And these are stories that are revealed to me because of trust and friendship.
I want to share these stories so that you can pray. I want to share these stories so you appreciate how good life is in North America (despite what seems like nonstop complaining that I hear). But I'm afraid that if I share these stories, it will paint Africa with a brush and a stereotype that is not fair.
You see, while these stories are true, they also just tell one aspect of the story. People tend to remember the negative and forget the positive. We tend to repeat the dramatic and forget the mundane. This is why the news is so full of the bad stories. That is also why too many ministries manipulate people by telling the bad, sad, heart-tugging stories in order to get donations. Too many ministries also exaggerate their accomplishments to also make you think your donation is going to make a huge difference. And life doesn't work that way.
And so I ponder these things in my heart. I bring them before the Lord. And I vent my anger at injustice, pain, and sorrow to people close to me (mostly Michael, who gets an earful with each trip!).
So I want you to know that I work hard at being politically correct. But it is a stretch and it is a struggle. I don't always get it right. But while I believe that the US has its issues, this is a very comfortable country comparatively speaking. I would still rather live in sub-Saharan Africa than the US, because of the earthy reality of life that is not hidden behind closed doors.
As I wrote before, my family and I were able to enjoy Thanksgiving in Canada and did the touristy thing of visiting the CN Tower and the Ripley's Aquarium, which was very cool! Here are some family pictures.
|Hannah and Noah letting their hands get chewed by "cleaner shrimp." Love the look on Hannah's face.|
|Noah's Hannah petting a bamboo shark.|
|My mom delighting in being with her grandkids.|