Yesterday was sort of a day off (Volker it is ok if you stop reading at this point) and I tell you, we made the best of it. If I thought riding a motorcycle back at home was exhilarating and gave me a rush – driving a quad ATV and dirt bike through the valleys of Africa, that is a rush.(Mom, dad and Ashley, maybe you should stop reading at this point). Here we were going through valleys and around switchbacks of open cliffs and mountains and the views of this African land were simply stunning. As we hit open straight ways through the old logging forests, there were many times we would be doing upwards of 70 Km an hour – it was such an adrenaline rush, one which solidified that which I have learned while here. Let me explain.

I knew that when I came to Africa I would come back a changed man. I remember the first time I came, the growing pangs were hard and it was difficult for me to settle in – but that was the problem I didn’t allow that in which I was changed to transform. This time it has not been the culture, the poverty or outward which I have experienced, rather the inward reflection of life back home. I always knew that there was something special about me, but yet something so dangerous – I am extremely passionate towards the things I give my attention. I think about my lawn mowing business in Kansas, it was everything to me, from right after school till the late hours of dark maintaining the machines and sharpening blades. The way I played basketball, I gave it my everything and during winter all of my time, from 3 hours of practice after school till staying at the gym till 9 shooting free throws and running suicide drills. In university the presidency was my focus, I thoroughly loved with passion that which I did. I gave it my everything. The hardest part for me in all of these situations though was learning to let go. I loved them so much with such passion and commitment at times it became unhealthy because I was scared to lose them, therefore I began to control.

Even now there are things in my life back at home which I am so passionate about and am loyal as ever to. I don’t think my level of passion will ever change and honestly I don’t want it to. But I have to learn to not turn that passion into control. That means I have to trust God and come to turns with releasing my passions. I remember that when I was just a child, my mother knew I would work in Africa someday. She saw the way I collected flags and put together map puzzles and looked at National Geographic’s. There came a point in time where she started to pray that she would give me to the Lord and trust His will for my life, even if that meant me living and working in Africa. That which she so loved, her truest level of love was to let me go. But in letting me go I think she found the deepest level of love with me.

I have learned this in such a deep way here. I wish I could get into details, but the politics are too heavy and the situation to close to what we are doing here. Ultimately though, the village we are working in I have been working with some individuals and like me, they are passionate people. They love the people of Bulembu with all their heart. In a similar way they have had to let it go, with knowing that this is best for that which they love.

I must learn that passions in life, whether that be my job, Africa, the relationships I am in or my friendships – I have to learn to be passionate and then be ok with letting go.

My prayer God is that you give me the STRENGTH to let go of that which I cant change.

Give me the COURAGE to change that which I can change and

The WISDOM to know the difference between the two.

Africa you have my heart and passion. Lessons never to forget.