Mar 9 – Seeing Burkina Faso

I have just returned home from a 10 day trip to Burkina Faso, Africa. I saw hunger, disease, hope, joy, generosity. I felt hot, dusty, thirsty, loved, appreciated, encouraged, hospitality, inspired. I was filled with heart-breaking experiences that consumed my heart with compassion. I wish I could put it into one simple post and tell you what what all this means. But I cannot.

The sky in Africa is amazing. The blue color is one I have yet to find a match. And I have been searching ever since I returned. I know one day I’ll shout out, “That’s it!” and have people staring at me, but oh well. I’ll have a story to tell!

For four nights, our team camped out under this brilliant, deep, dark, rich, blue sky. The only light afforded us was from the moon. Our cots lined up next to a church or a village wall. Guys on one side, ladies on the other. Some nights we’d lay down at the end of the day and watch this sky while listening to Bob Vale strum his guitar and sing softly. This sky, directly above us, that would change over the course of the evening.

I spent several nights watching as the moon became full and seeing things that came back to me as elementary school memories of being in the planetarium. I’m no astrologer, but may have been watching the Winter Triangle one night (thanks to a brief jog though Google). It’s three stars were the few that were visible early in the night. As time went on, I could clearly see Orion, the Hunter; the Triangle now lost in a sea of other stars. And later, after the moon moved across the sky, that amazing blue I mentioned would be staring down at me with more stars than one could imagine: twinkling so bright!

I don’t think I’ve seen that many stars before. It was outstanding! In that moment, I was reminded of Abraham being promised to father a generation more numerous than the number of stars in the sky. I cannot begin to comprehend what that must have meant to his ears. What it must have meant to his heart. What it must have meant to what he was going to do with his tomorrow. I can read his story in the Bible, but I’m talking about what was going on inside of him. What an overwhelming promise! What a humbling promise.

And I began to ask God, “Why am I here?”

calvin-hobbs-starsI am still sorting that out, but I do believe God wanted me to see the world differently. And I can honestly say, that you cannot look at the world the same after experiencing Africa. About 2 of 100 things in my life do not seem trivial today: 1) the love I have for God and my family and 2) the passion I have for children knowing Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord.

And with that, I continue to ask God, “What am I do today?” with what I now see.


About Karen Grant

Children's Minister - FaithWorks! is the children's ministry of Clay Church in South Bend, Indiana.
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