I miss these people:
And these people:
I even miss this guy:
And man, oh man, I miss this sweet girl:
I miss the laughter and the singing and the baby snuggles. I miss seeing the kids come walking down the dusty road to the Carepoint, some who have come miles from school, with their knitting projects in hand, ready to show off their newest creation. Heck, I even miss getting peed on by the sleeping Swazi babes.
Maybe this time is harder because it was my third trip. The connections with the kids and the bomake and the people on our team are stronger. The time spent with the American missionaries in Swaziland was more like being home than visiting.
The hardest part in all of this is trying to find a balance. After being immersed in Swazi life for two weeks, it's hard to jump back into American culture. When I read Kenzie's blog post today I started to cry. She said so many things that have been on my mind and heart the past couple of weeks but I wasn't able to put into words.
The balance. It seems like it shouldn't be so hard.
My van's air conditioning is pretty weak right now and I was complaining about it. Until I was completely convicted. Think of the heat in Swaziland in the summer. They live with no air conditioning. I was at the grocery store walking through the toilet paper aisle. They use crumpled up notebook paper in the outhouse at Bheveni if they use anything at all. There was complaining at the dinner table about what was for supper. Two weeks ago I saw a woman drop to her knees in tears because she was so thankful for a bag of dry beans.
And last week, when I was school shopping for my kids, I was angry. The 5th grade supply list alone would be enough for 10 school kids from Bheveni. And don't get me started on the $100 graphing calculator Miles needs for high school math. $100! How many months of school tuition would that cover? The $80 activity fee for Linus to join Cross Country. How many meals for hungry bellies would that be?
But it doesn't work like that. Two different countries, two different cultures, two different worlds. Slimming down the supply list here doesn't magically put pencils in the hands of Swazi kids. Making my kids eat every last bite of their food doesn't fill the stomachs of starving people in Africa. And making my kids miss out on life here doesn't end the poverty over there.
Two different worlds, but I want to be a part of both. I am a part of both. God has instilled in me a genuine love for the people of Swaziland. He has also instilled in me a love for my family and friends here. I'm trying my best to figure out how these two things mesh together and what it means for my life. So please bear with me as I try to find balance. As I stumble, as I ramble on, as I obsessively post photos of those I love from both America and from Swaziland.
Kenzie said it best: "I didn't go to Africa because I have an answer to the world's problems or because I have the resources to fix those problems. I went to love. That's it. Because God first loved us and it is the most valuable thing you and I have to offer everyone and anyone we come in contact with."
So I'll start there. Both here, in daily life, and every minute that I'm lucky enough to spend over there.