God’s Will–and the Clarity I Didn’t Have

We weren’t clearly “called” to Africa. That I know of.

I was thinking of this the other night, as friends and I gathered around steaming plates held on our laps with friends who’d just returned from a “vision trip”–hopefully helping them discern whether God was calling them to India. Unfortunately, clarity wasn’t showing up.

Maybe God will correct my thinking in the future. But there my husband and I were in Little Rock, with a bunch of little kids, contemplating whether or not to, you know, sell 70% of our stuff and wheel our bags to a continent I was sure was just buzzing with malaria and typhoid.

I say that—but honestly, I was thrilled. Africa was a dream come true, one I’d put on the shelf in the “maybe God will explain why” category of my mental Dewey decimal system. And as we discussed it, I don’t think I’ll forget what my husband said one night.

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Does Christianity destroy culture?

If you’ve ever stood in the middle of African worship, it’s…well, it’s pretty hard to stand still.

Gotta admit. At a refugee center staff retreat, I started as a mild observer. I marveled at the literal full-bodied movement and vocalization: music that took over my heart, my body. I was, um, really dancing (don’t necessarily try to picture it…) to worship for the first time. Moisture leaked from the corners of my eyes. Perhaps you can see what I’m talking about:

After a rousing snippet of this kind of worship in staff devotions the week before, I’d told the teachers, this is just a sliver of what the African church offers the world. Every culture has its own strengths, its own vibrant display of the image of God.

And when Jesus comes, I will have watched so many cultures become the truest version of themselves.

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