I was looking through my files and found this, thought it was cool.
After traveling for over 30 hours we finally landed. We had been planning this trip for the last three months and we are finally here. My wife looked over at me and with a huge smile said: “I can’t believe we are in Africa, I have always wanted to come here”. I looked over at her at just smiled back, I thought to myself "I never thought God would take me here". We were in Burkina Faso, the third poorest country in the world. One in three kids die before the ago of 10 and the life expectancy is 42 years old. The average worker makes $2 a day, if they have a job and 87% of the population is unemployed. These are just some of the stats that I learned in the car ride from the airport.
We arrived at the guest house, what would be our base of operation for the next two weeks. I didn’t sleep the first night, I guess it didn’t matter we got in at 3am. I was just so shocked that God had brought me here. I kept wondering, why me God? What do you want with this pale white kid that was raised the mountains? Why did you bring me to Africa? The answers to these questions would come, it just took some time and listening to God.
The first day we went and did a tour of the churches we would be roofing and the pastors we would be partnering with. The team of twelve ranged from a High School senior to a 65 year old VP of some big company, we were a different team. As we drove around I just kept looking at all the people. I was amazed, I don’t think I had ever seen so many people out in the streets just hanging out with each other. I didn’t really know what to make of it and had to remind myself of the unemployment.
After working on some roofs and totally blowing the minds of the missionaries in Burkina, I guess we worked to fast we took some time to paint a church that has a center for Compassion International at it. We started sanding and next thing I knew there was 20 kids in the room with us, they just wanted to help. I started working with some of them and had them help me. I looked over and my wife was just sitting with them, she was taking time to spend with them. She got it, I had missed it. I was focused on the job and not the people. It is usually the other way around. I’m the pastor that spends too much time with students and forgets to work.
I could share hundreds of stories with you and ones where I remembered to spend time with the kids and knew that the work would get done when it got done. When I got home I felt God tugging on my heart. I felt Him reminding me about my times in Africa, and that is what He wants of me, to spend time with people. I can preach the best sermon in the world, and people will forget it. I can make the best winter camp ever and students will remember the snowboarding only. I can do this and I can do that, but students will never forget the time that I spend with them. Students will never forget the time that you spend with them. One of the team members with us was my middle school pastor; I have never forgotten what he did for me and how he allowed God to use him to impact my life. Tonight at our middle school program his son will be there and I will spend time with him and invest in him and the other boys in my small group. Who will you remember to connect with this week? Get out of the office, take some students to Starbucks and just chill with them.