As I got older and watched Africa on the telly, there was usually lots of wildlife, elephants, lions, cheetah, and the most brilliantly named of all - the wildebeest. Usually this proliferation of amazing creatures could be seen doing their thing on the vast plains of Africa - the savannah.
Then, as I hit my teens, the band Toto came on the scene with the song "Africa" and boy did that song just capture everything about the place:
"The wild dogs cry out in the night, as they grow restless longing for some solitary company. I know that I must do what's right, sure as Kilimanjaro rises like Olympus above the Serengeti"
As adults, Pam, the kids and I usually go on holiday with some of our friends and their families. We all know each other really well and enjoy each other's company. Recently we went to Paris. Before that, Portugal, the Cote d'Azure and even sunny Sandyhills in Galloway. One day, a few months back, we spoke about the possibility of forsaking the usual sunny, glamorous locations and doing something really worwhile like a working holiday helping out missionaries. The discussion stalled when we looked at the idea in more detail, as we discovered it was anything but a straightforward undertaking, and so the proposal went onto the back-burner.
However, a few weeks ago a guy called Ken Rudge came to speak at our church and gave a report of a trip he'd made to a far-flung corner of Angola. After 30-odd years of civil war, Angola had again opened up to foreigners, and Ruth Hadley, a lone English missionary, had answered the calling of her lord to go there. Then Ken threw in a bombshell "There would be nothing to stop a group of you from going over to Angola to help out Ruth, she could really do with some assistance."
You could've knocked me over with a feather. Baking powder!? Was this confirmation that our alternative holiday idea was a goer? Could we put up with the jabs, the heat, the spartan living conditions (the wildlife was a gimme!) and the long journey? At this point, as well as the Holy Spirit, I heard the sound of Toto in my head, "Hurry boy it's waiting there for you." So, eight of us, seven from TCF and Stewart Welsh from Bridgend in Kilwinning, have decided to go. What an adventure!
However, flights are expensive as it's way off the tourist routes. Jabs are expensive (and daunting!) and we know it won't be a bed of roses in terms of the work we'll be involved in when there. Therefore we've decided to do some fund-raising until we depart, in July 2010 God willing, and hope to cover at least a small part of the cost of flights.
Over the next wee while, and hopefully while we're out there, we hope to write a journal on the whole experience. So, watch this space!
Mark 16:15 (New International Version - UK)15 He said to them, Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.