So this is it...my last post from Africa. It isn't my last post on this blog...It isn't even my last post about Africa.
But it is my last one from Africa.
I am leaving in the midst of a week of riots and warfare, rock throwing, gun fights, and fires raging on the fuel of hatred. Ironic then, that as I leave, I recognize that Guinea's greatest lesson to me has been love.
It's a strange thing, isn't it? Love.
It shows up where it shouldn't. It flourishes when it should die. It holds on when it should give up. It gives when the cost is great. Love is extravagant.
I've seen it even more these past days.
A friend came by my home with his wife and baby tied on the back (my favorite thing) to bring us gifts. Inside red paper were shoes...beautiful, African made slippers. My friend works as a household cook. I couldn't imagine what it cost him to buy these for us. But love is extravagant.
My neighbor invited me into her home yesterday. She presented a dress she had made for me. She put earrings in my ears, a necklace on my neck and brought me to her mirror to show me how beautiful I was in them. I looked around at all her children and they were beaming with excitement for my gifts. They weren't wearing anything like what they had just given me. What must it have cost them to do this? They loved big and love is extravagant.
In this place where tempers are violent, I've seen patience and kindness. In this place where death permeates everything, I've seen a remarkable amount of life. In this place of desperate poverty I've seen extravagant giving. In this place where injustice rules, I've seen freedom reign.
I am grateful. So so grateful. It overtakes every other emotion in me. It drowns out the sadness of leaving and subdues the excitement of our next adventure. I am grateful that GOD gave me the thing I longed for. He gave me Africa and spent the year showing me the beauty of simplicity, engraving into the core of who I am that it all comes down to one thing: Love. Loving HIM, loving others and walking in that love.
That's not just a lesson for Africa. It's for all of us! Don't get confused, or let anyone convince you that following JESUS is complicated or intellectual. It's not. It's simple...but it takes a lot of courage to let the simplicity of LOVE be your reality. But the GOD who is LOVE beckons us to it---"Be Strong and Courageous!!"
Who is up for it?