I recently read an article by a former peace corp volunteer that reminded me of the difficulties Jason and I will walk into in Africa (if you have a chance read it!). I, of course have realized this before but visiting Tanzania is completely different that living and working there. It is easy to be here in the States and tell people the simple, watered down version of our ministry plans and vision. A common response is “oh, that is great!” sometimes even said like we are so awesome and somehow brave to be going to such a place. I do not think we are at all. We are following what God has called us to do and some days I wish things were simpler, like packing up and moving, like saying goodbye to family and friends (even if just for a time), and leaving a life that is pretty great here in Chicago.

I also wish there were easier solutions to cycles of poverty and crime, epidemics such as lack of access to education and disease, the issue sustainable farming and globalization….and the list goes on and overwhelms me. If you listen to candidates on either side right now sometimes it seems like there are easy solutions and that they have the key but the reality is that these problems are complex, the causation and effects are difficult to battle. Teaching on the South side I learned this lesson with haste. I naively thought my first year would be similar to Dangerous Minds; that I would walk my white butt in there, and with some caring and high expectations, begin to relate and help heal the pain my students were in. Was I ever misguided. What I began to grasp is that the more you get involved with other’s lives; the more you are vulnerable the more you sense your own pain, brokenness and your own need for healing. I also realized that the problems others face are not easily understood or solved; especially by an outsider, even one with the best of intentions. It is true that kids (or anyone) do not care how much you know unless they know how much you care. Living life with, being real, and giving of myself was, with time, the only thing that produced any fruit. My prayer is that God would enable us to be students of the culture in Africa and learn before we seek to change, question ourselves before we ask of others, and above all love without expecting anything in return. This is the stuff of really living life.

  1. Anonymous says:

    I had a chance to skim the article and did find it to be thought provoking.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I still think you are brave! Not many of us are brave enough to follow our calling.here’s this quotation which speaks to the same issue that is very meaningful to me. Can you guess who said it???? :)“I take away the compelling idea that there’s serious evil in the world, and hardship and pain. And we should be humble and modest in our belief we can eliminate those things. But we shouldn’t use that as an excuse for cynicism and inaction. I take away … the sense we have to make these efforts knowing they are hard, and not swinging from naïve idealism to bitter realism.”

  3. Anonymous says:

    I know that is Obama, right? I read his new book and i think i remember that.

  4. Anonymous says:

    hi there: i’m a friend of darcie and chris’ and used to live in chicago. my husband, mark, and i spent 4 1/2 months in tanzania, kenya, rwanda, and uganda before moving to minneapolis from chicago so my husband could go to law school. i really don’t know why you’re going, but if you want to talk travel tips, please feel free to email: jerriwagner@gmail.com

  5. Anonymous says:

    Rox-you are brave. So brave. Sarah is right-people who take the less traveled road, on their passion and convictions are rare and to be admired. It’s not like you don’t know what you’re getting in to. You absolutely know, and you are doing it anyway.I hope you will keep up your blog when you’re away so we can see your transformation and evolution with all the work you will do there!