Monday, July 16, 2007

Michaelah: Changed by Africa

Have you ever watched a TV show and thought to yourself, “I wish my life was that simple, with the only major problems being faced are about a guy or girl, a very close friend, or even something as stupid as a zit?” I know that I have. There are days when life just stinks, and the problem could be about a guy or girl, a very close friend, or even just a zit, but for the people of Africa, the problems are way more extreme. The problems they face everyday are: poverty, AIDS, malaria, death and sicknesses due to unclean drinking water. It’s not a secret that there is so much we can do for them. We need to share financial resources, technology, and education about hygiene and clean water. But there is a lot that we can learn from them, such as the importance they place on hospitality and the respect they show for each other, and the people who are guests in their country. I bet you are saying to yourself, “What does she know? It’s not like she’s experienced any of this for herself.” But let me tell you, I HAVE seen all of this for myself, and my life will never be the same.
Several weeks ago my parents, and I, and some very close friends, made our way to Moshi, Tanzania, in east Africa. Before the trip I was SO excited to be going out of the country for the very first time, and getting the chance to tell the people there about the love of Jesus Christ. But what I found out, was that there was going to be so much more to this trip than what I had expected. I had in my mind, that we were going to change the lives of a lot of people, but what I didn’t know was that mine was going to be one of them.
There were many things that happened while I was there, and it would take way to long to tell them all. So, I’ll share one experience that really got to me.
We spent two days in a little village called Sonjo. Most of the people that lived there lived in mud huts. The few concrete buildings, for the most part, were from the government, like the school and the teachers’ living quarters. There were other concrete buildings, not from the government, and most of them were uncompleted, with only four walls, no roof, or floor. I remember only seeing one that was completed, and that was the home of the wealthiest family in the village. Our team had expected to be sleeping on a dirt floor in one of the mud huts, but the teachers gave up their beds so that we would have a comfortable place to sleep. I mean these homes had no electricity, running water, or a way to keep the lizards out. Ha ha ha. It made me cry because these people were giving us the best that they had, and none of them complained once. I complain when I have to give up my bed for a guest, but the sad part is, is that I still get to sleep a lot more comfortably than they did those two nights. We guessed that some of them might have even slept outside. And just the fact that people could be so welcoming and hospitable when they had so little, was a huge deal to me. I have never experienced anything like it, and I’ll admit that I had a hard time handling it. But I kept it together, for the most part.
God works in unusual and powerful ways, and sometimes we don’t understand some of the things that happen, but we just have to remember that everything happens for a reason. And no matter what, we have to trust that He will always be there for us. Every person has been made for a purpose, and God has an incredible plan for each of us. Even though people and circumstances may let you down, He will never abandon us. That goes for everyone in the entire world.
I value my trip to Tanzania, very much, and plan to return someday. I hope that you will also pray and consider doing something like this.

Mungu akabariki (moon-goo a-ka-ba-ree-kee)
This is Swahili. It means: God Bless You!

~Michaelah Weaver~