They don’t need you.
Over the last few years I’ve been fortunate enough to travel throughout East Africa: Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania to name just a few. One Sunday morning in Moshi, a small town on the border of Kenya and Tanzania, I stopped an old gentleman on his motorbike and asked him if he would take me to the local church. I could hear the pastor’s dulcet tones echoing throughout the valley from our cabin a few miles to the east. Venturing off road, we eventually found our way to a modest barn upon the slopes of Kilimanjaro.
Welcomed into the Swahili Pentecostal Church as if I attended regularly, I sat at the back, watching as locals tricked in minute by minute until the intimate mountainside barn was full. As they worshiped in Swahili, a language I cannot speak nor understand, I realised in that moment – the western world needs to change their preconceived ideas about Africa. There’s so much more to these countries than poverty; so much to be joyful about; so much beauty. You don’t need a mission trip or non profit as an excuse to travel to East Africa. That’s not say people on these trips don’t have great intentions but unless we are careful, a hand-out mentality will continue to strip people of their dignity. You see, the presence of God was just as tangible in this little church as it is in London, Cape Town or Paris.
Heading back up the mountain, the sound of singing still reverberating through the old megaphones, I realised there is far more that unites us than separates us.