This time for Africa

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During the summer of 2012, I was able to go on a rather splendid and intense mission trip to Tanzania with Teen Missions International. Around 20 or so years earlier, my dad went to Tasmania and Thailand with the same organization, once as a team member and once as a leader; which is how I heard of the unique opportunity. Two years before, I went to Western Samoa (located near Australia) with the same organization. But going to Tanzania was a different experience. Way more physically, spiritually, and emotionally challenging. Way better. But don’t tell anyone else that.

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While there, we spent some time working on a missionary building (brick laying and things of the sort), and hiking around the “foothills” of Mt. Kilimanjaro, evangelizing to different schools.

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The experience was extremely eye-opening. I returned realizing how much we waste in America, from hotel shampoo to food. No, I didn’t come home and radically change the way I live my life, but the event was still incredibly impacting. That’s why I love traveling – you learn so much about other cultures and ways of life- which is both humbling and important.

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Someday, I might want to go back and climb Kilimanjaro. Not to mention interact with the people. Some of them are super nice. Some are a little creepy, I’ll admit, but some are really down-to-earth and nice. Just like everywhere, really. But the lack of technology and the lack of material objects affects the way people are. And it’s special to interact with people who don’t necessarily interact with Facebook every day.

For the record: Not all of Africa is made up of emaciated, sobbing, little kids. There’s a lot of poverty, yes, but you’d be surprised at the amount of happiness and productivity present.

ma famille

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Dave- (verb) fantastic waffle maker, United States Air Force physician, gun enthusiast, marvelous giver of gifts, outstanding tutor, best dad of all time.

Heila- (noun) incredible analyst, exceptional conversationalist, fervent writer and best comforter.

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Daniel- (preposition) participant in all things adventurous, martial artist, night owl, people person, lover of guns and animals, best friend.

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Jasper- (adjective) tender, fragile, lover of laps and people.

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George- (noun) BULLY at heart with teddy bear tendencies. 

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 My family is special and has been more influential and valuable to me than I can even put into words.

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WATER

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Were Niagara but a cataract of sand, would you travel your thousand miles to see it? Why did the poor poet of Tennessee, upon suddenly receiving two handfuls of silver, deliberate whether to buy him a coat, which he sadly needed, or invest his money in a pedestrian trip to Rockaway Beach? Why is almost every robust healthy boy with a robust healthy soul in him, at some time or other crazy to go the sea? Why upon your first voyage as a passenger, did you yourself feel such a mystical vibration, when first told that you and your ship were now out of sight of land? Why did the old Persians hold the sea holy? Why did the Greeks give it a separate deity, and make him the brother of Jove? Surely all this is not without meaning. And still deeper the meaning of that story of Narcissus, who because he could not grasp the tormenting, mild image he saw in the fountain, plunged into it and was drowned. But that same image, we ourselves see in all rivers and oceans. It is the image of the ungraspable phantom of life; and this is the key to it all.

Two points about this passage from Herman Melville’s Moby Dick. First, if you’re like me and automatically avoid reading anything in quotes or italics, go back and read it, I promise it’s worthwhile. And second, don’t get the impression that I’ve read all of Moby Dick. I haven’t. I wish I could say that I have, though, because it seems like a smart people book.¬†Nonetheless, this particular passage (from the very first chapter), is so good and true and perfect for the start of a blog post.

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Ever since I can remember I’ve loved water. The emotions felt when I think of the essential ingredient to life cannot be put into words. I just love it so much. The weightlessness experienced when swimming and floating. The cold, smooth feeling against my skin. The quietness. The undiscovered, incomprehensable, underwater world. Every single thing about water, salty or fresh, cold or warm, frozen or flowing, is completely breathtaking.

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“Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” John 4:13-14

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