Itineration is a whirlwind. I am here for ten weeks total and in that time I will be in six different states, speak at over 35 churches, and have who knows how many meetings. One of the results of this type of schedule is that I don’t stay in one place for very long. I am sometimes changing sleeping locations on a daily basis. While it is not ideal, I have been pleasantly surprised at the deep conversations I am still able to have around dinner tables, over coffee, and into the late hours of the night, or sometimes early hours of the morning. When we see our time with people as precious we tend to not spend much time on the superficial, but get onto topics that are important to us, our relationships, and our lives.
I wish that this was more often the case in my normal life. I do not know how much time I spend talking to people, all the while hiding what is really going on in my heart and mind, while they assumedly do the same. When we feel like we have time or we know that we will see people again tomorrow or next week we push off the difficult conversations and leave things unsaid. I have had a rich time so far and I hope that some of this time of rich relationship can carry over when I head back to Tanzania, that I can take more time to sit around a table, sip on some coffee, or delve into relationships that are significant to me. I have spent more time in conversation and relationship building than I do as I run around fulfilling my regular schedule in Tanzania. Others have also mentioned how the time is worth it because I am only in the country once every 2-3 years. What if we didn’t wait? What if it didn’t take a trip across the ocean to realize how important our relationships are and how we need to remember to set time aside for conversation, sharing, opening our lives up to others and allowing them to share their experiences with us?
I hope that people learn about Tanzania, the amazing people there, the great work that the church is doing, and even how to be the church in THEIR local communities. Most of all however, I hope that I remember the lessons that I am learning and that they go back home with me.