Going home to Africa…!
Tomorrow I leave for Africa – Kenya and the Democratic Republic of Congo. I grew up in the Congo and it will be my first time back since I was 15 years old! My pending trip has brought back memories and reflections.
One of the songs I remember from my childhood is “Jesus Loves me”.
I grew up in a family that first and foremost reassured me that God loves me – I think several of those Sunday school songs described it as “even me” (which in my case might have appropriate!) This was a secure foundation upon which to grow my faith and my walk with God. Jesus loves me – the Bible says so – and from this basis I developed my world view.
I also grew up in a family that showed me another truth from that song – that if God loved me then God loved all Children. Just as I was loved it had to be true that all are equally loved by God.
This is where my trip back to Congo brings back the memories. Those years in the Congo were pivotal to me. I remember so often my parents telling me – both in words and in the way they acted – that God loved all the people around us. God loved the children in the villages – even though they were without shoes, hungry at times, and did not have nice clothing. God loved the men and women that would knock on our door to sell us mangoes and guavas – hoping desperately for some extra income that week. God even loved those boys and girls who would come up to our car on the street and ask for money. It did not matter that they were dirty or some were missing limbs. If God loved me – then God loved them as well. I was taught that in God’s eyes we were are equal.
I also was taught the third truth of this simple song. If God loves me and everyone else then I have a responsibility to partner with God in bringing this love to all of those around me.
I’m looking forward to seeing Congo again. It is interesting in thinking about this trip how pivotal this place was to me – and which shaped my life so significantly. I’ll try to blog from Africa when I can.