This May was the third year in a row I have been to Tanzania. The place has a chunk of my heart. While in Tanzania we created an English lesson plan and taught it to the street youth to improve their conversational English skills. This allowed us to get to know each youth. We learned their background, their personalities, and their smiles.
I am not someone who is good with goodbyes; they’re heartbreaking. I easily get attached to people. But I’ve learned both with growing up as a preacher’s kid moving around and with traveling, you have to make the most of every opportunity, leaving your heart on the line every time. If you hold back for fear of goodbyes, it hurts yourself, the people, and God’s work.
Being in Tanzania poses a lot of opportunities for fear and therefore many opportunities to trust and depend on God. My faith was stretched to trust God and leave the comfort zone behind. I felt God push me to put myself out there, speak up, interact with people, and go for it when everything screamed hold back. Who are you helping when you hide? Not even yourself. We invested everything we had into the youth we were teaching. Because of that, we were able to connect on a deeper level with them.
As Megan said Sunday, it’s harder to incorporate the lessons from a mission trip when you get back to an American way of life. It’s harder when you’re not faced with tangible fears daily, not being shocked by stark poverty daily, and not in that mission trip mindset. Things do not look as clear. But God calls us to treat every day as a “mission trip”. He calls us to die to ourselves and to love others. God want to use us to touch the lives of those around us. So like in Tanzania, I have to learn to leave my comfort zone behind, put my heart out on the line for those around me in my own culture, and trust in God with my fears.