AFRICA TRIPS, PERSPECTIVES

Emily in Africa: I Need Africa

Emily Crane, our Auburn campus rep, is spending 2 months in Africa this summer. She will be keeping us updated on all of her adventures and provide a glimpse into what Mocha Club is doing on the ground.

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I need Africa.

This saying has been a Mocha Club motto for a number of years. Some people love it and wear their t-shirts proudly; others question what it is really about. If you haven’t read the full story, I would encourage you to check it out. If you’ve ever been anywhere in Africa, you probably enthusiastically agree with this story and have a similar tale to tell. If you haven’t been, it might still be a hard concept to grasp. Reality is, the demeanor of the African people is unparalleled; their hope for the future and contentment in the present is incomparable. Here is a snippet of what it’s all about:

“There are great tragedies playing out in Africa everyday. There is often a level of suffering here that is unimaginable until you have seen it, and even then it is difficult to believe. But what is harder is reconciling the challenges that many Africans face with the joy I see in those same people. It’s a joy that comes from somewhere I cannot fathom, not within the framework that has been my life to this day.”

JOY is the most recurrent theme that I found in my two-month venture in this foreign land. It characterizes the people: from their worship of the Lord to the completion of mundane tasks, each is performed with unequivocal joy. Even though most people I met are living with what we would classify as nothing, they somehow have everything: they have full contentment and are fully satisfied in where the Lord has placed them. They taught me so much.

Over the past couple months, Philippians 4:12 became a new reality for me. Paul claims, “I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.” As I was stripped of the typical comforts I surround myself with, I found more of the Lord than ever before. As I grappled with realities that were hard to fathom, I discovered an unwavering spirit of the people. Despite the fact that filthy water daily causes deadly disease, that a “house” is comprised of flimsy trash haphazardly balanced together, and that school fees are often not a reality because employment is hard to come by, I found joy.

Many of the men and women I was surrounded by are living in circumstances we wouldn’t deem worthy for our children, ourselves, or perhaps even our household pets. Yet they encapsulated delight in the Lord like I’ve never seen. They have hope in something greater than this world. Their happiness isn’t based on having the latest gadget or the fairytale lifestyle our culture deems so important. Their dependence is on the Lord, and they taught me what that looks like. They find joy in the mundane and the glorious. They live recklessly abandoned to the will of our Savior.

So as for me, I too have learned that I need Africa more than Africa needs me.

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