Before this year, I can honestly say I've never missed any particular place. I have, of course, missed situations, individuals, and familiar comforts, but I cannot say I have ever longed to just exist in a certain atmosphere. That has changed. It is hard to express without coming across as sentimental or dramatic, but I truly can hardly wait for the day I return to Africa. There is something beyond even the five senses that is inexplicably captivating. It is nothing like any place in which I have ever lived. It is probably less comfortable, in many ways offering fewer amenities than to which I am accustomed. But that does not bother me, which is surprising because I admit I enjoy being comfortable. The food is different. Good in its own way, but not the way I would cook it if I were cooking it, yet I crave it. The people are Beautiful. For the most part unpretentious and unselfish. They give of themselves freely and beneath a thin exterior of formality lies a fairly unguarded heart that is raw and deep in a way most Westerners could not understand. They have dimension in an age of shallow familiarity and surface acquaintances. I wonder if I can ever allow myself to become vulnerable in that way. Respect for those who are in authority, whether you know them or not, is a way of life. Society treats those that are older as people of wisdom, not people to be shut away and forgotten. These Tannies and Ooms are not ridiculed for their older Boer ways, but appreciated for being living Icons of an Age that is fastly fading as an Era of political correctness eats away at an identity or nationalism. There is a way of life, that though dying, is still tangible and visible in the Towns. People greet each other with more than a smile and wave. There is a warmth created by interaction that cannot be duplicated through any other means of communication than raw, one on one conversation. This is what I miss. The culture that is not afraid to set aside time from their plans to truly find out how someone else is doing. A culture that forces you to forget about yourself for a few minutes and find out about the true feelings and emotions someone else is experiencing. It is by no means a Utopia. There are arguably more problems than many other places, but does that make it irredeemable? Is it beyond hope? Can people who really grow to love the country not implement change? The only change that will really transform any place is the one that has eternal significance. People filled with the Love that is God pouring their lives into people who have no true Hope is the something that cannot be underestimated. God created something unparalleled in beauty in the vast landscape of Mountains and Sea, and in the people that live their lives in and around that land. The only thing that remains is to take His Love to them through service and sacrifice. Africa does not need my American thought or my Western trained intellect. It needs the all transforming, redeeming Love of God. A love that can only truly be shared through us when God chooses to use us, and we respond by Whole heartedly giving of our life. our Soul. I can honestly say that whether or not God chooses to allow me to see Africa again, I am in the process of allowing Him to transform me into someone who is not tied to material things. I will never drive a fancy car or own a beautiful home, but I will, by God's Grace, sell my life out to doing His will and showing others His Love wherever He calls me. There will always be a part of my heart that can only be filled by Africa, and I pray I will be worthy of the Blessing of returning to this wonderful place that God has given me such a desire in which to minister. Above all I pray I never lose the fire of service or become blind to the tragedy of the American Dream and the materialism it embodies. I pray God will use me in to radically bring Glory to Him in Africa or wherever He chooses to place me. It sounds scary to say I may never have the safety and security of Home, but I could never call Home any place besides the center of God's will. I know He has called me beyond the comfort and influence of material things, and in that I have an unexplainable trust and calm. People may never understand and say I am being a bad steward by not investing my money in Wall Street or IRA's, but God has not called me to the ministry of sending workers, He has called me to do all I can to be His work. So now I can say there is a place I will always wish to return to. A place my Heart is in. A place I could one day call Home.