This post was originally posted on January 9, 2013. As I prepare for a return trip, I thought I’d repost this.
January 2013: An adventure is something you sit at home in your recliner and wish you were having. However, when you’re having it, you wish you were sitting home in your recliner. I’m ready to embark on another adventure to Tanzania and am reminded why it’s good for me to visit third world countries.
I am the most reluctant world traveler you will ever meet. I like to visit new places, but I don’t always like the transportation that takes me there. Poke your little toe outside the borders of the U.S. and you find out quickly that DOT and EPA do a pretty good job keeping our vehicles safe and our air clean. When is the last time you flagged a taxi and had your choice of….
a beat up 1980’s Datsun pickup with stock racks on the back;
a converted school bus with racks of chicken cages on top;
a boat on the Atratro River in Colombia, South America (Our military escorts wouldn’t let us go more than 3 miles up the river for fear of us getting shot!);
a Haitian Tap-Tap (so named because you tap-tap the sides when you want off);
occasionally get treated to one of these;
only to change your clothes at the end of the day because they smelled of raw sewage that hangs in the air like humidity?
My newest adventure will point me towards Tanzania to work with Floyd and Kathy Hammer, founders of Outreach, Inc. A few years back, they were set to retire, buy a boat, and sail around the world. But they made a trip to Tanzania first where they held babies dying of starvation. They sold the boat.
They remind me of me. One trip to an impoverished country changed my life in many great ways. Here are six reasons why these travels are good for my soul:
- I make new friends – While I’m excited to take my cameras and capture images of new places, I anticipate making new friends who will share their stories and move into my heart and take up residence.
I live with deeper gratitude– When you are around people who literally have nothing but the clothes on their back and a leaky roof over their head- yet their hearts are joyful and quick to laugh- it causes you to be grateful for the small things. I even say a prayer of gratitude over my toothpaste and the water in my toilet.
It gives me perspective- After the first trip with my boys to Nicaragua, one of them commented, “Somebody slap me if I ever whine again.”
It relieves my stress – So many of the things I worry about have to do with money and stuff. When I get stressed, I remind myself that I have never worried one day in my life if I could feed myself or my family that day.
Their faith inspires my faith – When Jesus said, “Happy are the poor in spirit,” He understood that often the poorest people are the happiest. I remember conversations with refugees who drag themselves across deserts with the breath of faith giving life to their souls and suddenly I have more faith.
My purpose in life is renewed and clarified – I want written on my tombstone, “He Loved Well and He Empowered a Lot of People to Feed the Hungry.” I know why I’m on this earth: to be a lover of God, to be a lover with God, and to empower as many people as I can to feed hungry people.
Have you ever taken a trip to a 3rd world, or developing country? If so, what does it do to your heart? Would you agree with me? Would love your feedback.
November 14, 2019 – I’m preparing to head back over there; would you like to go with me? Nah, you don’t have to buy a ticket, but if you’ll sign up for my blog, you’ll get regular updates and photos during the journey. Unless, of course, I don’t have electricity or the internet which is common.