Just over three weeks ago our short-term mission team from NewBranch Community Church returned from Ghana. It was a joyous homecoming as friends and family met us at the airport. Tears of joy, smiles, and laughter were all part of that special moment. Three weeks have past.
During these three weeks we have all had time to reflect on the time we spent in Ghana. We’ve looked at our pictures, celebrated the teams return in a church service, spoken to people about our experiences and considered often those we met and how they touched us.
I (Chris) am reminded of Kofi as I reflect on my time there. I was able to be part of Kofi’s entrance into the Kingdom of God as he acknowledged his sin and need for Jesus Christ to redeem him from death. I’m reminded of Johnny, the caretaker of God’s Eye Orphanage. His heart for the orphan children really messed me up. I had to resolve in my own mind and heart what really is important in this world. I’m reminded of Justice, a young minister whose faith in Jesus is simply contagious. The church that he ministers in is in a village several miles away from Nkwanta. I’m reflecting on how genuine the worship of the people in that church is. Being in the midst of worship with people who are unashamed to openly and passionately worship Jesus causes me to reflect on my own worship.
Returning from Ghana is harder than going. Why you may ask? Because upon going you are met with reality and your expectations, concerns, fears, and assumptions are resolved. You see things in a new light once you go and experience the culture for yourself. And then you must return to your own culture. But now part of you is stuck in that new culture and things in your own culture strike you oddly. You must resolve the differences in your mind and heart and that makes the returning harder than the going. You have only a few months to consider your expectations, concerns, fears and assumptions before you go but an entire lifetime to deal with the impact of another culture in your life and more importantly, why God gave you the experience to begin with.