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Adjusting and Readjusting…

If you’ve ever spent time in the third world, then you know the real culture shock isn’t visiting the third world–but rather when you return to fairy land back home.

Richard apologized for not having time to go to the grocery before I got home and told me I’d need to go today. I opened the frig and pantry. We have plenty.

My phone rings and it’s Delta telling me they lost my luggage. I’m glad…but not because I wanted my “stuff” back. I could care less about my “stuff”. I really wanted the 50 new profiles we have so we can potentially get 50 more students sponsored. The luggage arrived–and I pulled out those 50 forms as if they were precious jewels. And they are.

I watched my children all day…as if I’d never seen them do the things they were doing today. Riding their bikes. THEY HAVE BIKES. Spinning on their scooters. THEY HAVE SCOOTERS…TOO??? Asking for more milk. MILK? NOT JUST WATER…THEY GET MILK. AND MORE MILK WHEN THEY ASK. Parker fell on his bike…his knee started bleeding. I put a bandaide on his scrape and rocked him. HE HAS A MOM TO LOVE HIM, TO CARE FOR HIM, TO KISS HIS BOOBOOS. After naps, they asked for a snack. A SNACK??? WHAT COUNTRY IS THIS??? WOW. I FORGOT HOW BLESSED WE ARE!!!

Every where I turn right now–I’m blown away. Trying to take it all in…this is where the real culture shock happens.

I try to turn it off…and just be normal. I try to shake it. I go to the sink and fix a glass of water. A miracle…clean water comes out and again…I can drink it.

I think of the 10 year old across the world…whose world has been shaken because of her lot. A double orphan…parents taken by HIV and malaria. And luck of the draw–she managed to escape both. But last week–she was abused 3 nights in a row…and in 3 months–I guess she’ll need to be tested to see if she also has HIV. Ain’t no visiting the American Doll Store for this little girl. Nope–that’s not her world…or anything even close to it. She is one of the millions just like her. Who if we aren’t careful here in fairy land…we might forget. One of the millions that need us desperately to remember…and ACT. I held her. I wiped away her tears. This is life in Africa for so many children.

And I just can’t go on vacation and live a “normal” life while it happens.

Some times–I feel sorry for my kids. Why can’t they just have a “normal” mom who worries about “normal American things”??? Are we messing them up??? Or maybe…

Maybe this really IS what life is all about.

Maybe this IS the way God wants us to raise our children as believers.

Maybe we really are supposed to struggle filling up a glass of clean water…not forgetting how blessed we are…what God has done for us…and how He might really want to use us to bless others.

I’m in the middle of culture shock at it’s finest. And I hate it…but I also think this is right where God really wants us as believers to live. Bothered. Compelled. Desperate to do something.

I guess the real nightmare would be if these things didn’t bother me. If I could sleep soundly at night knowing what was happening. If my brain wasn’t racked all day by ideas…that might or might not work to help.

One amazing thing that has happened yesterday and today–is that I have been so encouraged. BY YOU. I have received a few emails from blog readers who want to sponsor children. REALLY??? I even got an email from a blog reader who journeyed with us to Africa through my entries…and their family has been led to CANCEL their vacation and donate the money instead. REALLY???!!! In a culture where we preach “you need a vacation”…”you need to be replenished”…I am just so ministered to that families all over are making radical choices to serve others….to make a difference in lives like our precious little Ruth at Wiphan. One blogger commented that they are going to sponsor THREE children. This just lifts MY SOUL!!!

James 1:27 is about serving the widows and orphans. That is the first part. The second part is just as big–and I believe goes hand in hand in serving widows and orphans. It says not to be polluted by the world. It’s really hard to serve widows and orphans when you are being influenced or keeping up with the world and what it says is important. I truly believe God is raising up families all over the world to make radical life choices for the sake of loving and serving orphans and widows. I often get frustrated sitting in church listening to challenges that don’t sound very challenging…self-help talks…or surface conversations. I can handle it much better at the park…but for some reason, at church–it makes me go cross-eyed. Just when I think my eyes might permanently stick cross-eyed–I check my email…and I’m encouraged by families who are making crazy big sacrificial decisions for the sake of others. Thank you to those of you who have personally ministered to me in your obedience to your radical calls to serve.

Thank you for bearing with me as I readjust. I’m sure I’ve lost quite a few readers in the process…but that’s okay:). I’m keeping it real…and the readjusting…the culture shock on this side–is the hardest part.

Here’s a sweet clip of the Zambia kiddos…oh my heart…I miss them already!!! For those of you who journeyed with us…I would like to introduce you to Pastor Alice (my sidekick last week…LOVE HER!) and the sweet trio–they run together 24-7;). They are singing about God’s love for them…just precious. All orphans…but children of God!

If you would like to join us in sponsoring a child through Wiphan Care Ministries, please visit the SPONSORSHIP PAGE AT THIS LINK. We have 1/4 of our children sponsored but need 300 more sponsored. We only have 1/4 of our children up on the site now…and we need to get the 25 remaining sponsored before we begin adding the additional 300 we need sponsored…more will be added next week as hopefully we get the 25 children waiting for sponsors connected first! Thank you for even considering joining us in this way!!!!!

More on adjusting and readjusting I’m sure in the week ahead:).

Love y’all…and thankful for the support of so many amazing, like-minded readers. Seriously…so thankful for each of you.


Becca - July 26, 2011 - 11:46 pm

I love your heart and what you’re doing and I think the things you are teaching your kids are the MOST important things! We want to have y’all over to our new place in the hood sometime soon! 🙂 Maybe after the baby gets here in a week or so . . .

Lauren - July 26, 2011 - 11:58 pm

I love this post and I so relate. I find myself having the same feelings in church lately. We just finished a sermon series about how to be a spiritual graduate. Basically it was all sort of “self help” type stuff. Not wrong, but I can’t help but feel like we’re missing it… like we’re really not getting it – not living it. It makes my head spin. My hearts been going crazy over the last few weeks. I’ve wanted to post but I just can’t seem to get the words out right. Spending a lot of time on my knees with Africa in heart. Thank you for sharing what’s going on in you. I pray that we all get our pretty little American lives wrecked for His sake.

jenn - July 27, 2011 - 12:00 am

I’ve watched the video you sent me about a thousand times and I am having culture shock just stepping away from my computer screen…so I can’t imagine what you are feeling right now. Uncomfortable is hard…but God can do the most through us when we bend low…so keep bending friend! You won’t be alone…He will meet you there!!

It Feels Like Chaos - July 27, 2011 - 1:56 am

Such a great post! I’m linking to it from my blog! We are leaving for Ethiopia this week and I can definitely imagine these feelings upon re-entry.

rebekah - July 27, 2011 - 7:11 am

Thank you so much for sharing, Andrea. We all need to live with our eyes OPEN to what is going on in the rest of the world.It is so GOOD for us to see the reality of what life is like for so many people and how easy we have it here. God has given us much and there are SO many ways we can give back, share and serve with what He has given. Thanks for showing us what life is like in Africa and giving us glimpses into your trip and the dear people there.

Rebecca - July 27, 2011 - 8:13 am

Oh, these feelings are so, so good, but so hard. Only someone who has been on such a journey can fully understand. What a blessing that God lets us see our lives, His world and His heart with new eyes over and over.

We are taking a team to Haiti on 8/6. So happy to be taking first time mission trippers. We are praying over their hearts, knowing the breaking that God is going to do. So glad though that a few more people will see the world with new eyes.

Praying know that God will calm you and focus your heart on gratitude and action.

marci - July 27, 2011 - 9:29 am

Beautiful painting with you words…..the day we are not bothered and feel so comfortable is the day we know longer are the hands and feet of Christ Jesus. SO, yes, Andrea God made you different and in turn your family will be different and that is a “Good Thing”….Blessings and Pax,m

Katie - July 27, 2011 - 9:40 am

Beautiful post, Andrea. Thanks for sharing your heart. You are not alone & if you’re crazy, I’ll gladly be crazy with you. We’re packing all of our stuff in a moving truck today, and I’m sitting on the floor in my empty office with boxes all over my house wondering why in the world we have all of this stuff. Why do we think it takes so much for a family of 5 in America? Please keep sharing about your trip because you’re right – we SHOULD be bothered, compelled, desperate to do something. Thanks again, friend.

Mary Beth Picker - July 27, 2011 - 10:27 am

Oh, Andrea,
Thanks so much for this. I understand exactly how you feel, and it’s good to know that there are others out there who can’t go back to “normal.” I don’t think I’ve felt “comfortable” at home for a couple years. It’s a hard place to live, but I think you’re right that our goal should not be to get back to that normal place. Thanks for sharing.

Mary Beth Picker - July 27, 2011 - 10:28 am

I hope you don’t mind if I share this on Facebook.

Robin English - July 27, 2011 - 10:51 am

Thank you for the reality check. So many blessings pass us by each day without our realizing just how big these blessings are. We’re so blind to all of the gifts the Lord gives us every day, every minute, just because we’re “used to it.” Thank you for your mission, heart, and honesty. The Lord’s work through you and your family is an inspiration. Thank you for being willing to be such an open vessel for his message to our world.
Glad you’re back with your sweet family.
love, Robin English

Melissa - July 27, 2011 - 11:01 am

Andrea, your blog is so beautiful. I traveled to Haiti last summer and know just how your feeling about culture shock. A year later, I still have moments where I am simply overcome by what we have and what others don’t. Mostly, I am struck by the people who aren’t even grateful. Traveling to see “the least of these” changes everything, and I personally think that is just how it should be. Blessings to you!

Tiffany - July 27, 2011 - 12:04 pm

So difficult Andrea…been following your trip and it makes my heart break. Since God opened our hearts and eyes to the sorrow so many children face…I do look at our life so differently…so many “things,” so much waste…it feels hopelessly overwhelming at times. I’m spreading the word about sponsoring Wiphan kids. As we are thinking about adding #5 to our family…I do know God is working…because this whole adoption thing has taken on a life of its own in our family. Have loved your journey…your heart encourages me to do more…

JJ - July 27, 2011 - 12:45 pm

It’s been 1.5 years since we returned from Ethiopia and I am STILL experienceing culture shock. I have a picture of our sponsor child above our FILTERED WATER on our refrigerator to remind us to NEVER complain about having “just water”. Christmas this last year was TOTALLY different than usual. Splurging on gifts for ourselves and our kids when it’s really all about Jesus and we could be sending that money to kids in TRUE NEED just made me literally ill. I got a gift card for my birthday for a pedicure and a massage and I still haven’t brought myself the go get the pedicure. I wish I could turn the gift card into money or bring a mother from Africa here to having her sore tired feet pampered instead. I CONSTANTLY think of Africa. I don’t buy new clothes unless it’s going to say something about the orphans, widows, or fatherless or bring awareness to the huge need in Africa. Oh, and my shoes are in mint condition compared to the shoes I saw in Ethiopia. I see life in a totally new perspective. Andrea, THIS IS HOW GOD WANTS CHRISTIANS TO LIVE. It’s NOT all about us. It’s about helping others. We can’t be conformed to the ideas of the world. We must open the eyes of those around us. One by one, we can do it. I so often get SICK, literally sick by the messages spoke IN CHURCH too. They are getting further and further from the TRUTH. I truly would LOVE to move to Africa, but my husband is active duty military. We’re sort of stuck here for a while. Can’t wait to see what the Lord has planned for us when he’s retired in a few years. Keep up the eye opening posts.

Sandi - July 27, 2011 - 3:03 pm

Sponsored another child & sent e-mail to 100 folks encouraging others to do the same a few days ago for child sponsorship day! Praying for hearts to be broken & eyes to be opened. Praying for a sponsor for every one of those precious children! Maybe God makes us so incredibly uncomfortable so that we will realize just how much extra we have to give…

Kim - July 27, 2011 - 7:58 pm

This post said everything that I haven’t been able to say about my recent return from Ethiopia.. you hit the nail on the head. Praying for sponsors for every one of those children.

Christy - July 27, 2011 - 9:32 pm

Oh girl, we sponsor 2 Compassion children and I wish I could do more! Starting to sell Thirty One in hopes that it will help go for helping ministries and adoptive families and even maybe sponsorships – we’ll see how God works it out. Thanks for being real. My heart understands!

Brantley - July 28, 2011 - 4:24 pm

LOVE This. I haven’t been across the world [YET], but I pray that God will rock my world even more one day by allowing me the opportunity to travel and love on the many orphans! Their lives break my heart and I pray daily for my heart to continue breaking! Thank you for sharing your story with us! Continuing to pray daily for these precious faces!

Stacy - August 8, 2011 - 10:59 am

I am behind on your blog, but catching up today. Thank you so much for sharing what’s on your heart and for being real. Thank you so much for reminding us that there is more to live for than this life.