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Saturday, July 02, 2011

The Swaziland Chronicles #1 :: Sent out and Setting Out.


These are some snippets of my trip to Swaziland. It was a 9 day adventure with God to explore the possibility of partnering with He and and an organization called "Children's Hope Chest" to care for abandoned children, orphaned and vulnerable.

I feel a bit like the apostle John must have felt when he was trying to wrap up the wonders of Jesus life in a relatively short chronicle called the gospel of John, for how to put such paltry measurements on moments with Jesus and His mighty works. Listen to John as he tries to apologize for cutting short the glories of God...

John 21:25 - Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.

And so I apologize in advance as well. I could never do justice to explaining the injustice I was about to be thrown into headlong. But first, I had to leave the comforts of home, so I will take you back to a humble Wednesday evening, the night I said my goodbyes to family at the airport to strike camp and walk into the unknown...

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Wednesday Evening:

- My wife and kids dropped me off at the Grand Rapids airport and I remember checking in and just sitting there all alone for a couple hours as I awaited boarding. There is something about leaving on a 10-day trip like this by yourself into the unknown that is unnerving and exciting in ways I can’t right now find words for. But I wouldn’t be honest if I didn’t admit that fear was creeping into my insides. No matter, there was no going back now.

I I met up with Paul, a pastor from California that was joining me on this trip, in Chicago O’Hare after eating boneless chicken wings to fill my stomach before the long 8 hour trip to Frankfurt that would last the better part of the night.

- As I stepped on the plane and looked for and “forward to” my window seat, a father standing in my row asked me if I would trade with him so that he could sit with his wife and kids. This put me in the back of the plane next to a little kid who was fidgety as all get out. The little boy ended up laying on my lap and shoulder throughout the night. It was a long night, needless to say.

Thursday:

- We landed in Frankfurt and met Laura from Children’s HopeChest and went to our Day Hotel to shower before going on a tour of Frankfurt. It is not the most beautiful of cities in Germany, but it stretched out our legs and gave us some fresh air and fresh sites after being balled up in what seemed like the fetal position for the 8-hour flight.

- We ate some vintage German sausage for lunch, walked the city streets, then went back to the Airport to catch our plane from Frankfurt to Jo-burg, South Africa.

- I couldn’t get to sleep so I watched the Never Say Never Justin Beiber documentary. (mockumentory depending on whether you’re a fan or not).

- I had an interesting experience the first time I went to the bathroom in the back of the plane. As I walked to the latrines and turned the corner, I caught a couple making out among other things in a single latrine. You here about this stuff in the movies, but it was quite another thing to witness it in living color. I awkwardly looked away as they chuckled and made their way back to their seats disheveled and not embarrassed nearly enough. Maybe Germans don’t see this as a violation of social graces. Whatever the case, I thought I would log it for the record.

- I read a little bit more of the book “When helping Hurts” by Tom Davis the CEO of Children’s HopeChest before dozing off for the night. The stories were moving and I imagined myself in those places in a matter of hours. It was surreal to think that I wasn’t just watching “American Idol gives Back”, or an Oprah special on African orphans, I was really going to experience this for myself in real time, in real life.

- It was a 9-hour flight, so I caught what little sleep I could along the way watching movies, reading, people watching and woolgathering (daydreaming). I thought we would never arrive.


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