Today I am back in my office for the first time in two weeks. I am still in “recovery mode” from the 44 hour return trip from Tanzania. For some reason I keep waking up at 4:30 in the morning! To say the mission trip was an amazing experience is an understatement. You can backtrack my Twitter posts to get a glimpse of exactly all that God did. I have some specific thoughts as it relates to spiritual warfare that I will be posting later in the week. I witnessed some things first hand that I had only read about until this trip.
The most memorable part of this mission trip was experiencing the whole thing with my son, Garrett. In fact, Garrett turned 16 while we were on our way home. Garrett and I have been spending a lot of time this past year talking about the transition from boyhood to manhood. Every culture has its point where it recognizes manhood. For the Jews it is 13 and the Bar Mitzvah. In our culture today you could argue that 16 is that age. At 16 Garrett will be entering high school, that final push towards graduation and college. At 16 he begins to drive. That means he’s “out there” on the road with all the other adults. That’s a lot of responsibility. At 16 he is becoming engaged politically and looking forward to voting in the next presidential election. At 16 he is finishing up his first summer job earning a real paycheck for the first time in his life. So…this mission trip, where my son turned 16, became somewhat more than just a trip to Africa. I watched as my son shared his faith with total strangers. I watched as he stood in front of a newly planted church and taught them from the biblical narrative. I watched as he ate (without hesitation) all the strange food that was offered to us. I watched my son becoming a man. I don’t think either one of us will ever forget our 12 day trip to Tanzania. And what other 16 year old can say they spent their birthday on three continents?!
I very special moment was a manhood ceremony that our team (of men) held for Garrett. I won’t share the details in this post but perhaps I will in the future. But suffice it to say that it was a special and holy moment for all of us. I am thankful for the men who shared the whole Tanzanian experience with us, Joey Cornell, Scott Ward, Jeff Carnell, and Mike Cauthron. These men are true champions for Christ and it was an honor to serve the King and His Kingdom with them.