For their equivalent of Spring Break we took all the kids to Mwanza to a beach on Lake Victoria. That’s right, we took 46 kids 3-18 years of age on a public bus to a beach resort, and we had a lot of fun doing it. On the way to the beach I was seated toward the front of the bus. It was a little ways into the trip that I finally looked behind me. Remember, I mentioned it was public transportation and that I am in Tanzania. When I looked behind me I realized that they had overfilled the bus. Many people were standing up and we had kids two or three to a small bus seat. I was sitting comfortably in the bus looking at the beautiful scenery, and enjoying the forward progress for the longest time before I realized that not everyone on the bus was in the same situation that I was in.
I think this is the view of many people in developed nations. The world is moving forward so quickly that we are sitting in our comfortable seats toward the front watching it go by and don’t remember to check and see how everyone else is doing. Now I will give it to you, life is more simple in Tanzania and sometimes it is easy to get caught up in the view up front and the speed bumps you know are coming. It may even feel like your seat is more like a cycling machine and that no matter how hard you peddle you will never catch up. At the same time I personally know a man who had a dream come true when he owned his first bike in his early 40s, and I don’t mean a Harley, I mean a two wheel no motor, one gear bike. The world is not moving so quickly for everyone. For some it is moving very slow and seems to be resting on their tired shoulders.
So here is my open invitation. Take some time to turn around and look at the back of the bus. Come and stay for a few weeks or longer and see how other people live, work, and struggle. Be willing to get involved long term in a ministry for people different from you weather at home or abroad. If you visit here maybe you will take a new passion for straining your neck home with you. If you find a place closer to home you will have an even greater opportunity to be hands on. Either way your view will become much clearer than when you just use the rearview mirror.
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