2017 July Malawi Education Team, Safari Reflections

Our team returned today from our safari in Zambia’s South Luangwa National Park. The six hour van ride packed with both the training and medical teams served as a good opportunity to rest where we could get it, hear stories from the other team, and to reflect on the significant experience we had all just shared. There were several highlights like sleeping a night on cots, in tents with monkeys throwing things at the roof all through the night, and meeting travelers from around the world. Being in the park itself was an amazing reminder of the simplicity of life when it comes down to you, the world you live in, and God. It was also a good reminder of the importance of perspective.

 

While driving by a lagoon I asked if the hippo and the crocodile who shared it “get along”. Issac our wise Zambian tour guide and Park Ranger said “Yes”. I first interpreted this to mean they don’t kill each other. As is often the case when seeking answers to God’s creation, the exact opposite was true. They get along in a paradoxical way. Issac went on to explain that the gators eat the young and unattended hippo offspring and those who are separated from the pod and injured. I was reminded of my Biology class days where we learned that this is why many animals who often fall prey to others, breed so many times. It seems to me to be a simple and sacrificial resignation to a greater purpose.

 

There were many other examples of symbiotic relationship between the land, the plants, and the animals. It reminded me that God has an uncountable number of interwoven, delicate, and seemingly simple relationships worked out, even those between we humans, and that in time with some sacrifices, everyone “gets along” in the hand of The Creator. I expect no different as a Christian except to remember that we have great value, even sacred worth, for the lives of others and are called to care for each other and the rest of creation.

 

I think I have been reminded most on this trip that those with any privilege and any station of authority are called to an equal portion of sacrifice. We have had the privilege of working alongside a generous and hospitable community over the past 10 days. Many we trained alongside have gone days without eating in their life and yet we were often expected to take the first portion of a meal as their guests. It was considered their privilege to welcome us into their communities and so they sacrificed to treat us with great honor. Our privilege is the ability to take a break from our creature comforts, travel over 8000 miles, and to share what wisdom we had to offer from being a part of Church of the Resurrection. I pray that the sacrifices we have made to be here and the sacrifices we make when we get home as a changed group of people, will match the privilege we have been offered. Please join me in that prayer.

Grace and Peace,
Pastor Patrick