January 15, 2012 at 11:27 PM
This is weird.
I’m thousands of miles in the air on a Boeing 777 plane. It’s kind of stuffy and kind of loud. But I have this cool screen on the chair in front of me, and there’s games.
What’s actually weird isn’t where I’m at -- it’s where I’m going. I have just embarked on a 13-hour plane ride that will take me to the African country of Ethiopia on a mission trip that I’ve been planning on participating in for months.
I’m headed there with a group of 18 other eager members of my home church, Living Word Community Church. We’re not headed to Africa to try to convert people to believe in Christianity, though.
We’re going to work.
Our bags are packed with bottles and bottles of vitamins to distribute to the people of Sendafa – the village my church has adopted for the last seven years. They're packed with vinyl and cloth, so we can install flooring in their mud huts. Our bags also have school supplies, so the students can afford to learn.
We’re also packed with loving hearts, so we can support what we call, “The PAAV Team.” The team, comprised of Ethiopians that have paired up with our church, works all year around. They conduct home visits, school visits and distribute HIV meds. Their biggest project: installing the country’s first chlorinated water system.
Let me repeat that. We are installing the first purified water system in the entire country.
Pretty big stuff.
What’s weird about this trip, though, is that I never saw myself coming here. I never sat around and dreamed of Africa, and I never really aspired to be a 10-day missionary. For me, it wasn’t really a choice.
I’m here with my entire family. That means I have three younger siblings here, age 14, and twins that are 11. Thank God I’m not sitting near them on a 13-hour plane ride. That would be miserable.
But despite that fact that I didn’t have a say in whether or not I came, I do have a say in what I do while I’m here, the relationships I form and the time I spend changing the lives of others. And of myself.
I’m at a point in my life where I think I need a little “life changing.” For the past two and a half months, I served as a crime reporter for the Collegian. As you can imagine, it was a busy semester.
My days, as well as the days of many others, were filled with words like “sex abuse,” “fired” and “rage.” They were filled with allegations, crimes, horrific stories and tears.
I’m so happy to be leaving. To be headed to a place where no one has ever heard of Jerry Sandusky or Tim Curley or even Joe Paterno. A place where what you see is what you get. I can learn so much from these people. I’m sitting in my seat on this plane, just itching to meet them.
If you’re reading this blog now, it means I was able to find a smidgen of Internet access in the capital where we’re staying, Addis Ababa.
Keep a lookout for additional blogs as I move forward. It should be a crazy experience.
For now though, I'll go back to playing tic-tac-toe on the touch screen in front of me. This could be a long ride.