Well, I am getting ready to leave later today for Zimbabwe...not a vacation destination but not a mission trip either. It is a ministry trip for sure, meeting other pastors, potential church planters, and other ministry leaders. I guess as I sit here thinking it just does not seem real on many levels...me going to Africa? This guy who lives in the very same neighborhood he grew up in...next door to the house he grew up in...in the house we built 35 years ago and rebuilt 7 years ago...with my daughter and grandkids five houses down the street. My sister and her family four houses down same street....my son and his family two neighborhoods over...me, I am going to Africa? I spent most of my life working in auto plants...not in executive roles but common jobs...running machines and setting things up. Me...I am going to Africa...with Ray...I think I may get mad at him...he invited me to go.
I have been to Brazil and spent days, well weeks on the Xingu and Amazon Rivers and that amazed me also. I would be sitting on the boat in the middle of nowhere thinking, “How in the world did I get here?” OK, I know a plane or two helped get me there...but how did I get there? I think I will blame Barb for that one...that usually works...no I will be angry with a couple of guys named Rick...they invited us to go. Yep...I am ticked at them now! Really that does not answer the question I have...why am I going to Africa now? Barb is not going and I know she would love to go...I am not sure I “love” the idea of going...anywhere. I think if it was not for her and my kids I could easily be a hermit...well and my church family...hard to be a pastor and a hermit. I do think I could hide...never leave a spot...never be uncomfortable...just sit and wait for Jesus to come back I suspect. But noooo...I am going to Africa. Oh boy.
I am not sure why I am wired like I am...I understand life shapes me and I know I am in a much better place right now than even a couple of years ago. As I sit here and write my thoughts down...tears spring up as I think about not seeing my wife...my kids...MY GRANDKIDS!!...my church family for a couple of weeks. What is wrong with me??? Doesn’t it seem kind of strange? Probably to many of you it does seem strange...maybe I should cancel the trip to go see a shrink...kidding. This is just who I am...and I am OK with that. I really am not the best dad in the world for my kids or Papa for my grandkids...it is not like I spend every day with them...but I suspect one of the reasons I enjoy being a pastor is this...I love being a dad and grandpa...love it! I will miss my family...so why am I going?
So what I realize now more than ever...it is not me that anyone in Zimbabwe needs...it is Jesus in me...this is what is needed...so off to the plane I go. I will cry when I think of missing my daughters birthday...missing golf with Corey...dinner with all the kids and grandkids...and I will wonder over and over why God would choose to send me...and I will thrive in the mystery of His love and mercy...it is not about me right now..it is all about Him.
PS..By the time this is posted I am back in the states...I wrote as I prepared to leave but did not have time to post.