"Wow, so much wow."
If I were to put the past 6 weeks into words the East African way, those are the words I would use, wow, so much wow. And even though it is thrown around in a joking way when we spot a zebra or see the abundant amount of chapati we are about to eat, those are the only possible words to describe this journey. And I can boldly state that with the amount God has taught me, I could fly back to Atlanta tomorrow with my world rocked, my heart truly filled, and my view of God completely transformed. Buy why do that when I still have a whole second half of His journey waiting for me?
Something so unique about Africa is the trees. Yes, the trees. I'm sorry I'm not describing something more exciting, but there's a purpose for what you sat down to read right now- I promise. If you want a visual, turn on the lion king or open, "Oh, the Places You'll Go." Some have table top branches as if God sat on them while finishing His creation. Some have long, giraffe trunks with pompoms branching off the top as if Dr. Seuss planted them himself. And others, like the one I'm leaning against at our campsite while writing this, could very well be the Tree of Life. From day one in country, trees have stood out to me more than they should for any normal person, but the part of these trees that I can't see with eyes or capture with a camera is the very thing God has consistently revealed to me.
And on a Wednesday morning on our sweet compound in the city, after 10 days in our first community, while everyone was having their coffee date with Jesus, the Holy Spirit put all the puzzle pieces I had been playing with together.
God wanted us to be partakers of His promise (Eph 3:6), so he He created the Gospel. We are rooted and grounded in love (Eph 3:17). Every sin has the same root (wise words of Jesus in Krista Jenkins), and Christ crucified on a tree, and everything that is hung on a tree is a curse (Gal 3:13) and through Him we are redeemed from the curse of the law.
Later that morning Kadie mentioned to us how fruits of the spirit are actually obtained, and stated that if our lives are not bearing fruits, our roots are not connected to Christ. And after reading Galatians all through our first community, I can sum it up in those words: faithful flesh, rooted in promise.
On the second day of our second community, I had a conversation with Julia- a sweet and spunky Rejoice Project leader who I have claimed as my African mother- about her call to plant seeds. A few days later, at the home visit, while sitting in her kitchen around a fire that was cooking rice (to be eaten with potatoes and Chapatti, of course), I asked what God was teaching her in this season of her life. She answered, "God is teaching me to dig the trenches, and He will bring the water."
Later, Hannah asked me for one word to describe where I was at, not even thinking of what Julia had said, my word was "digging." Digging to go deeper with my East African friends. Digging to go deeper with my community. Digging to go deeper with God. Our God is a God of irony, I am sure of it. Because that next day was a community project, and we were no where else, but in trenches, doing nothing else, but digging.
We dig. We plant seeds. And God waters. Roots grow and fruit is produced. Our sin can be traced back to the same root, but if you look above the ground, Jesus died on the tree, becoming a curse and dying for those sins in order to free us from the curse of the law. If we believe that God is love, and we know that His son died on a tree and rose from a grave, we can confidently proclaim as co-heirs and conquerors in Christ Jesus that we are rooted in love.
So I'll leave it at that. God is moving, and the Holy Spirit is active in every single member of this team. And for some reason, He loves teaching me through a plant.
"Wow, so much wow."