Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Processing... -Amy

Now that we're all back into our routines, what's happening with you guys as you process our trip?

I had a positive experience and I find myself telling people about how much I love Africa—the beauty of it, the grandness of it all, how God outdid himself when he created such a gorgeous place. And then I find myself trying to explain the outrageous paradox called Africa. A place where beauty and the ugliness of stigma coexist; where the poorest of the poor live practically across the street from "wealthy" people; how can a land so ravaged by AIDS be home to people unrivaled in their joy; and I think about Red Hill, where one woman celebrates having a container that allows her to administer love and mercy to children who probably dread sun fall every night because of the things that happen in that very community.

I find myself sorting through the contrasts with each new conversation. I am no closer to a theory or a solution than I was when we landed in Nashville. But tonight, I picked up a book from my coffee table... "Hope In the Dark." I've had it for months and read it many times, but it suddenly means much more to me now that I've seen Africa with my own eyes. Jena Lee (BloodWater Mission) and Jeremy Cowart wrote/photographed the book, which by the way has great pictures from Cape Town.

Jena writes:

"The first time you drive on Cape Town's highways you're sure to notice the stark contrast of overcrowded, shack-filled townships amidst a well-developed city. The strange thing is that most people in South Africa, myself included, begin to ignore it. It doesn't shock you anymore and it's easy to turn your gaze away from the situation and pretend it's not there. But that's what apartheid was all about—denying the value of an entire people. In the laws, apartheid ended more than twelve years ago, but I'm not sure if it has truly ended in our hearts."

Later in the book she says...
"People ask me, 'Doesn’t' it paralyze you to walk so closely and intimately with suffering? No, I tell them. If I've learned anything from my time in Africa, it's that though the suffering is overwhelming, so too is the hope.'"

I'm processing—praying for rescue from an apartheid that seems to still exist, praising God for hope that triumps in His people.


Nato said...

thanks for the thoughts, Amy. I find myself going through the same process, and sometimes feeling reluctant to say anything more than 'it was good', unless i know i've got 20-30 minutes to pour into it because of the vastness of it all. I think that while the experience as a whole was too huge to express, we can speak about mere seconds of the journey and show glimpses of God.

whit said...

Amy, I'm still learning how to talk about this trip. I think I'm getting into that place where everything you experience on a trip like this comes crashing down into your daily life. I struggle feeling purpose to my time in Nashville but I know that feeling wont last; I imagine it's like coming down off an addiction. The hope is so real there, just like Jena said, and I'm slowly learning to see that hope in something so familiar as home.