A Few Lessons I Learned in Africa

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Christians share a common bond in Jesus that transcends locations and cultures. Although I was on the other side of the world, there was instant friendship and fellowship each time I met another member of the body of Christ. Though we spoke different languages, we could still communicate Christian love very easily.

It’s OK for life to move at a slower pace. Nothing gets done quickly in Tanzania. While that runs counter to American culture, there is much to commend taking life at a slower pace. After a few days of adjustment, I began to appreciate and enjoy the laid-back environment in which no one was being pressed by arbitrary deadlines. It made me think about Jesus, a man who was always busy yet never seemed to be operating at break-neck speed.

Christians who leave their native countries to live in foreign ones for the purpose of enlarging the borders of Christ’s kingdom deserve our respect and gratitude. I met and grew to love and appreciate seven special Americans who left everything they had ever known to move to Tanzania to reach people with the saving message of Jesus. I don’t think I have the mettle to do that, and that heightens my respect for those who do.

There still are people in the world who want to study the Bible and will stop what they are doing to do so. Where in America can you walk into a business, ask the owner if he would like to study the Bible, and have him invite you to sit down right then and study with you? It happens every day in Tanzania.

Contentment in life is possible. You don’t need luxuries to make you happy. Some of the happiest people you’ll meet live in mud huts with no indoor plumbing. The poorest Americans have far more material possessions than most Tanzanians. And we want more. But as wealthy as they know Americans are, not one person ever asked me for a penny.

God’s creation is stunningly beautiful. Neither verbal descriptions or pictures can adequately capture the beauty of Tanzania. All I could do was stand in awe of the creation and the Creator.

Eddie Parrish

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