I never realized how much I take yoga and the knowlegde of it for granted. I teach it many time each week to people wanting to get in shape, loose weight or reduce stress. I have taught at workshops, retreats, breweries, gyms and churches, but nothing has ever prepared me for teaching it on the mission field. A place where trauma abounds, love overflows, and gratitude and praise is given so lavishly through smiles and hugs that transend all launguage barriors. I am forever undone...
I would love to tell you all that happened, all that we saw and participated in but it feels like to do so would, in a small way, remove it from the deep place in my heart that I have yet to examine. A place so full of love and heartache, hope and fear. A place where faces are too numerous and prayers not yet said wait for me to offer them up to a God who sees and already knows. I cry when I think of it and I am not sure what 'it' is. A experience, a longing, a person, a place? I don't know...all I know is that 'It takes a village' is no longer a phrase from a storybook-it is a true lifestlye in a place so far away where, if you do not have food you go to your neighbor who welcomes you in and feeds you what little they have, knowing that if they are hungry tomorrow you might welcome them into your family as well. Where what little you have can be brought together and shared with the little that your neighbor has to create something nourishing and where acts such as abuse and neglect are brought out in the open so that everyone can help you to cope.
I thought we were bringing yoga, but what I found was that we brought a tool that connects people to God, to each other and to the internal voices that say that we are alone, not worthy, and somehow there is something wrong with us. What I found was that even in such far away and remote communities like these there are still the lies of the enemy that threaten to take us out and to quite our voice and effectiveness. The lies that tell us that we are unseen, unloved, and unwanted. I learned that everywhere people need to know that God loves them, that He sees them, that He came for them and that there is NOTHING that they can do to make Him stop loving, seeing, pursuing, and cherishing them.
John 14:18 says “I will not leave you orphaned. I’m coming back." Leaving Africa those words kept echoing in my mind. I want to go back....I want to tell them again and again how much they are loved. I want to look into their eyes and assure them that they are never alone and the they have value even when they don't have anything else. I want to assure them that God has chosen them and that He pursues them and that He hears their cries and collects their tears. That I love them, that they have forever changed me and that they are written on my heart....but, for now, I am called to pray for them. I am called to share their stories with you so that you can pray for them too. And I will...I promise. But not today. Today my heart is overwhelmed and their stories are burried under unshed tears...But soon. And I can't wait because you are going to love them!
Thank you so much for all that you did and prayed to get us there....