It is always interesting how the beginning of anything starts with goodbyes. Traveling is so different when one has to say goodbye to loved ones, especially a little daughter who says “I don’t want you to go to Africa. Why you doing to Africa? Who’s going to look after me? “
So why do we go? Why do I go? The old story of us going down just to help out the poor doesn’t make much sense. There is just too much colonial paternalism in that.
I have started reading Bryant L. Myers “Walking with the poor. I like what he says, “The poor are poor because they are in a network of relationship that do not support their well being.” We do not go because we are somehow better and have something to give. Rather I go because we are already, for good or ill, connected and in relationships that are both physical and spiritual.
Our shared nature as children of God and as humans, with all the dignity, giftedness and responsibility that goes with this, these are both caught up in our shared sin and in our shared promise. We go, because we are on journey of transformation. It is a journey, that because of our interconnectedness, we can only fully take together.
This trip to Sierra Leone for me is about exploring and discovering how, along this journey, we can become a gift to each other.
So, I do not so much leave relationships behind (the connection is too profound for that) rather this leave taking is about a journey into discovering, and deepening the connections we are already a part of in the hopes that in some small way, the kingdom of God might just be discovered breaking in.