An unanswerable question…How was Africa?

009I was at our spring outreach event tonight (kudos to our children’s team!).  We ran out of everything by the end of the night (nearly 1000 hot dogs was just one part of the food) and seemed we had a huge surge of guests.  Of course, it was also the first time I had seen most suncrest people since getting back from Liberia Wednesday evening.  So, you can imagine the most popular question of the night…How was Africa?

If you ask me that and you sense I’m struggling to answer…it’s because I am.  The trip was great.  And powerful.  And discouraging.  And Sad.  And enlightening.  And full of potential.  And life-saving.  And life-changing.  And complicated.  And clarifying.  And hard.  And long.  And too short.  And..if you are reading this you’ve already likely read a lot of my ramblings about all that.

I’m also struggling to answer because I’m wondering how long you really want to listen.  Are you just making conversation?  Do you want the 5 minute version? (I don’t have one.)  Do you want the 30 minute version?  Do you want me to get out my pictures and video?  I could talk for a while.  If you really want to listen, I can pretty much promise you it won’t just be informational.  You’ll get a helping of my opinons and a smattering of emotion and before I let you walk away I’ll ask you to go there yourself when we put our next trip together (even though I have no idea when that will be).

The worst for part for me in answering this question is a conclusion I came to today.  I’m not naive…I knew even while we were there that it would be an impossible task to communicate to people what our experiences were really like.  But then this hit me:  I’ve been back in the USA for 3 days and…frankly…I’ve already forgotten.  I’ve eaten great meals, slept in a great bed, expected electricity to be there when I flipped the switch, just walked out of our multi-million dollar church building where we just stuffed people with hot dogs, popcorn, cotton candy, nachos, and more and no one had malaria.  How was Africa?  Not only can I not communicate it fully, I can’t even remember it fully. 

But because I fell in love with the people and do sense (I don’t think this word is too strong) a calling to help this country, I will answer the question as best I can as often as people ask it.  Their story needs to be told and I hope you will genuinely listen (and think about going yourself).


I know people are loving the pics, so here are some more…

bullet holes form civil war in light poles on street (lights don’t work anymore)

this is the BB court where some of us walked down and played with/against Liberians.  I got smoked.

Danny Buegar (the missionary we support) at the end of Sunday’s service.  3 people came forward…2 to join the church and 1 to make her first commitment to trust Christ.

~ by Greg Lee on February 28, 2009.

5 Responses to “An unanswerable question…How was Africa?”

  1. Just passing by.Btw, you website have great content!

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  2. Greg…so glad to hear you and the team are all home safely! What a life changing trip I am certain. I plan to keep these photoes of your mission trip with those of my son Bart & granddaughter Brittnee when they went to the remote mountains of Jamaica (far from the tourist areas) and again to the Native American Reservations in Arizona….I will look at them from time to time to remind myself of all that I have!

  3. I felt the same way when I returned from New Orleans. We’re such Israelites, and forget easily.

  4. Well said!!! I have been struggling with sharing our trip since coming home!! I almost feel guilty drinking from a water bottle now. The last one I had in Liberia I started to drink then gave the rest to a little boy with a very high fever who had Malaria. I walked him home to his mother, but could not stop thinking he needs more clean water. There is no easy answer…except share our experience and hope that people will be willing to help in any small way possible. I found I have been the opposite….not being able to engage in my role back at home.

  5. I remember coming home from Haiti… especially that 1st time and I couldn’t eat for the first few days… I felt guilty and sad and I think it was culture shock being back here… i was also sad knowing that Lovely was there and didn’t have enough to eat… I wanted to bring her back in my suitcase. That was honestly the hardest thing I think I’ve ever done was to leave her there and come back to the US and i had just met her. That was truly a God thing. The one thing I found amazing though… we feel sad for them but usually they aren’t sad. When you are used to not having it, you don’t really miss it.

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