(This continues Greg’s blog about his mission trip to Koforidua, Ghana. Read parts one, two, and three for some backstory on the trip.)
So. Africa. Two weeks, thousands of miles, and no running water; what was it that I learned while I was there? That’s the question I seem to be getting more than any other.
I learned that God is alive, that He truly is the Savior of the World. That no matter how far we go, we are made in His image and likeness. We experience the same joys and sorrows, we fight the same battles with our sinfulness, we pray the same prayers to our beautiful Creator.
I have experienced no greater proof that Jesus Christ is alive and changing the world than going to another continent and seeing the consistency of His love. In your high school or college, it may feel like you’re the only one who buys it; you’re the only one who is sold out for Jesus.
That couldn’t be further from the truth. You are part of a worldwide, universal, and living Church. You are part of the Bride of Christ, the Rock against which the gates of hell can’t prevail. When you go to Mass, after the bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Christ, listen to the prayers that are said. As we pray with the whole Church, the faithful across the world, realize that there are literally a billion people you’re praying with. That’s a lot of people, and a lot of room for diversity. In every culture, language, and country, you have a home because your Church is there.
That’s what I learned. That’s what blew me away. It wasn’t the difference in language, or the lack of running water, or the stifling heat and humidity. It wasn’t ‘being in Africa’ or ‘going on mission’ that changed me. Because as much as we were on a mission to share Christ with people, they shared Him with us. We weren’t going into the wilderness to introduce Christ to those who didn’t know him. Instead, we went to visit members of our family – brothers and sisters in Christ.
I know this is a little bit scattered and a little bit preachy, but it is what’s on my heart. I love Christ more after going to Ghana, because I got to meet him in new churches, new people, new forms of worship, and new beautiful parts of His creation. I got to see more of the God I am in love with. No matter where I had gone, Christ would have been there to love me. Realizing that, experiencing that, living that was beautiful.
Each day, there are chances to experience the God who makes all things new. Let’s pray to keep our eyes and hearts open to recognize Christ. And to never be surprised when He is faithful to that desire.
God bless all of you.