I am chomping at the bit (see my wife if you don’t know what that means). There is no greater desire for me right now than to share with you all that was experienced in our trip to Senegal. With great respect for my pastor, I’ve finally almost reached the point where it will be allowed… praise the Lord! Something you should be aware of though…
Regarding the title, it will be easy for the reader to assume by “lack thereof,” the author here refers to the great disparity between the land of his travels and American culture, between the stuff each possesses and not so much does. The reader will want to read on.
The “lack thereof” the author writes of is instead his own instability in discerning what his eyes have seen and his ears have heard.
We begin at the end.
We are waiting and watching a clock refuse to move its hands, for the hour we look for is the hour when an airplane will, Lord willing, carry us safely back to our loved ones. We have been in Senegal for only ten days. Some have expressed that it seems to have been longer. I’ll not share who, but suffice it to say, I was one of them. We are all homesick. This is a hard land, and my respect for the Boyd family has been exponentially multiplied leaps and bounds.
It is in these moments that Matt will share what may be one of the most essential discourses of our journey. He shares many important words to prepare us for our departure; our return back into a culture and an economy far removed from his current world. Not the least in importance of these is how we will share of our journey with others.
Because it requires little effort to step out of American culture and form an invalid opinion of how others in other places live, our debriefing is meant to reign in and curb such meanderings. I recall Matt’s words from an earlier day, “You will see different things. Don’t judge them wrong just because they are different; maybe they are just different.”
The instruction our friend gives in these waning hours of our journey is to resist the temptation to believe we have become experts of Senegalese culture with our brief stay. He is so right. So much so, had he not shared these words, the stories you read of our journey would have been very different. They would have been distorted by my pre and post conceptions. I pray they will not be still.
Join me now then as I will try to share of how our God carried us into a new land, a land that can be described as nothing less than “outside the camp,” to bring us face to face with poverty in extreme, both physical and spiritual, and how much of that poverty we may find to be our own.
Series “Journaling in Distant Lands” continues Thursday April 3 2014.