Thursday, August 02, 2007

We're Back!

What a wonderful journey we had to Burkina Faso to visit our daughter Krista. So much to tell that I feel tied as to where to start. Let it suffice to say, she is doing well...dare I say thriving, there, and that life is very much different. As should be expected. Of all our time there, I suppose our best time was staying in her home in her village. Meeting her new "family" and experiencing daily life as she does. Getting water (good 100+ yards away), riding bikes to the "Marche'" (market) (five kilometers away), walking through the countryside, going to church, being serenaded by a donkey at two in the morning, talking with the geckos on her wall (they click loudly) and using the latrine in a thunderstorm (no roof over the hole in the ground). The best through was just sitting with her reading out loud together, playing games, laughing, and enjoying a simple meal.

For all the new and exciting things we saw and experienced in Africa, communing with our daughter is what made the trip both a necessity and a delight.

I have been reminded of the importance of sharing a common meal. (See my Pastor's Pondering comments) That the purpose of the common meal was for more than just a replenishing of that which our bodies need to survive, but it is also created to be a place where our souls are to be replenished as well. A place where our stories are linked. A place to encourage and to be encouraged.

Sadly, too often in our western culture today the common meal is anything but common. It is hardly ever celebrated (and I use that word purposefully) together, and if it is, it is with great speed and little "communion." My own life is proof of these truths, and I am bothered by this reality. Meal time has become only a place where our stomachs are filled, but our hearts rarely warmed.

What is true about the family dinner table I find also true about the dinner table of the Family of God. The Eucharistic Meal has become just one of any number of religious activities that we attend which feed our "stomaches" but which we rarely allow to feed our souls. The fault is not in the fare that is presented at the Table, but with the heart of gratitude with which it is received.

I relished the meal times with Krista while in Africa. I was willing to sit, to talk, to listen, and simply, just to "be with her and her mom."

Oh that I would have that desire to sit with the Lord at the Table he has set before me. To talk, to listen, to just "be with."


spa_time said...

I'm so glad you're back! What a wonderful experience - even adventure - to be able to see up close how Krista is living and doing. And *thriving*! I'm not surprised. I'm looking forward to hearing more about your trips in future postings. :)

Anonymous said...

What a lovely picture of the three of you. I love Krista’s outfit. She looks very pretty. So does your better half. Long dresses look so lovely on women, I think. Your dress is cute too! Ha Ha. Just kidding. I know it’s African garb. I’m just being a brat.

I was thinking when I read that you and the Mrs. were headed there that you were both demonstrating extreme parental love to endure the extreme weather in Africa to visit one of your children.

Communion? Well, the opportunity to share communion with your daughter is what took you from the nice mild Felton, California climate to Africa. And since the three of you are Christians, you had Christian communion -- not the formal kind of communion like at church, but more like the kind of communion the early church experienced where the Christians actually ate unrushed meals together as a family instead of passing around a wafer and a little glass of grape juice after a formal church service. And I assume that the unrushed, simple life in Africa made it easier to really relax and enjoy each other’s company – more so than in our hectic USA type of environment. Sometimes, I think we pay a high price for progress here in the good old USA.

Glad it was such a rewarding experience for all of you. I’m sure Krista will never forget her parents coming all the way to Africa just to spend some time with her during her stint in the Peace Corp.


Anonymous said...

Welcome home, Randy....
My prayer for you in your absence was that "Arnold" not get too chummy with you...and that you would not have a "close encounter" with a dreaded SNAKE!! Sounds like that didn't happen PTL!
So glad you all had a wonderful time of just "being"....together.

I certainly agree with you about rushed "communion" at meals with dearly loved family....seems more and more someone has an appointment/meeting to rush off to so its "gulp" time and few words. More often than not these days families tend to meet at restaurants for family celebrations...and although WE might not be hurried....the staff seems to be! Their objective is to get you fed and get you OUT! Precious little time to "commune".

I see this at church too where the act of communion has been shortened by passing the elements...rather than going forward and kneeling at an in the "old" days...when church had altars! Some churches pass BOTH elements at shorten the process and SOME take it on their own and don't wait for corporate shorten it even further. I like that we have it just once a month...every Sunday can become so routine...loses its "specialness'....A church we use to attend many years ago had communion just once a quarter...but the whole service was devoted to it....that was even MORE special to me.
I thought after seeing Mel Gibson's film "THE PASSION"....that I could never again take communion quite so casually...with the vivid images of Christ's suffering burned into my mind....strange how months can fade those vivid images and I can so easily slip back into my old ways!

Looking forward to that special time on Sunday...nice to have you "back in the saddle".

Anonymous said...

I found that by left clicking on those small photos my computer would bring up a full-screen image where I could see the details. The big pictures are much clearer for my eyes. The one on the bottom, I observe, shows Randy’s backside, standing with a package balanced on his head. Wonder what’s in it?

Anonymous said...


I wasn't wondering so much what is in what's on their heads, but if it hurts one's neck to carry things that way? I notice they wrapped or coiled cloth around to make a cusion to rest whatever they have balancing on their heads. But I wonder if one could get a neck ache from the weight of whatever it is they are carrying?