It’s been almost 4 months since I tried to enter the back door of Mocha Club and eventually found the front door of our lovely office. I drove 8 hours the day before from Virginia and all of my belongings for the next 4 months still filled my car. I walked into the office and began. As it often does, the time rushed past and now I have about a week left in Nashville. As I think back on these months spent in the South, I consider what I learned.
I learned a lot of things, but the most important one that will affect my work and life is about how to relate to other people. I deeply respect the way that Mocha Club staff members operate by working closely with African leaders. They make these leaders’ dreams their own and work with them toward their goals with a posture of humility and respect. I could go on about the many other things I learned through being here day to day, or talk about how every person at the office showed me kindness and included me, but that might make for a long post. So I’ll stop here and just say that as I pack my bags, I will be taking more with me than when I came—things that I cannot pack in my car, lessons that will stay with me all of my life.
I’ll leave you with a poem I wrote based on a quote by one of our partners in Africa. May you be blessed and spread the blessing.
“The name of that place is actually Tumbe . . ., which means a place for rejected people, but God spoke to us and told us these people are not rejected, they should not be called rejected, they should not live with the name of rejection, so we said we are going to call this place Blessed Camp.” –Peter O O’chiel (Action Ministry)
The first word of the first Psalm
In my English Bible reads “blessed.”
A foundation of identity, something I
Have always been without knowing.
Ignorance is hard to shake
But it is not the kind of knowledge we
Think we need that will save us.
We think we are damned—
And we’re right, sort of.
We think we are unworthy—
And there is a hint of reality in that bitter delusion.
We think we are rejected—
And we could not be further (and nearer) to the truth.
We are only these things before.
We are only these things without.
We are only these things outside.
But then Love.