This is a guest post from Chase Glantz, a Storyteller in the Marketing Department of Adventures in Missions. Chase shares more of his thoughts here.
The pastor in Sumbawanga, Tanzania said plainly, “We’ve been praying for you for months. You are the answer to our prayers.”
My first thought was, “Oh shit.I really hope not.”
We spent the month preaching into really loud microphones and praying over sick people in their homes. I kept expecting a revival to break out or for a hospital to be emptied.
Instead, I got weak smiles, youthful cries of “mzungu” (“white person”), gradual healings, and conversions to Christ that really had nothing at all to do with my spiels.
I used to feel sorry for people in Africa because of the extreme poverty and disease. Now I envy them. I’ve never seen so many happy children. Even though they “have nothing”, their ironic smiles still haunt me.
I really wonder what they know about God that I don’t.
Sometimes I find myself in unbelief for the sake of safety. If I don’t believe, then I won’t have to try. If I don’t try, then I won’t run the risk of it not working and have my heart broken again.
Now that God has given me compassion, I really just want the pain to go away. I want to raise dead fathers, heal sick children, feed every starving person I see, and mend every person’s broken heart.
God, stop me from giving a damn.
I left Tanzania with more questions than answers, more confusion than clarity, and claiming God is going to have physically pick me up and hurl me back into Africa before I returned.
I thought it was because of the cultural differences, bad food, or the magnitude of epidemics. But looking back, I can really see why:
It takes so much faith to survive in Africa.
Sometimes I swear my butt is still sore from sitting in the three-hour church services. My back still aches from giving kids piggyback rides. I can still taste the beans and rice that seemed to appear in the pot everyday.
That’s why I tell people I don’t feel sorry for the people in Africa. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of injustices and epidemics to go around the world in Africa.
But I found in Sumbawanga that people aren’t sustained by financial aid.
They are sustained by the very Spirit of God.
While I can’t just drop in with a medical clinic or a giant box of rice to feed every starving orphan, I can give out my brokenness and have faith that God will resurrect people through my frail words, actions and prayers.
And as we stand together through our destruction, we will become what He intended all along: Faith made flesh.