Everything of which I thought it would be – it is not. I knew there was no way to prepare for the transition from living in Africa, to coming back to our western fast paced culture. I anticipated getting frustrated with those around me for not understanding and experiencing the same convictions to which I now would be responsible for – to which Africa burned into my heart. I thought this would make it difficult for me to re-enter our culture and honestly, thought it would take a few months before I came to terms with my context.

But it has been hardly that. The transition has been freakishly uncomplicated. I have pondered on this for quite some time wondering why I have so quickly re-integrated. I have questioned if it is because many of the things that I learned in Africa have simply been lost and overwritten. Maybe it is because I am in denial and that in order to not deal with all that I experienced, felt and saw I have pushed into my life a comfortable culture here. Maybe it is that after going to Africa 3 times last year and spending nearly 8 months there, I have just become accustomed to keeping a foot on each side of the fence. Or possibly, it is the grace of God and his goodness.

One thing I am quite sure of though helping me in this time in my life, is some of my friends and family. Being able to talk about what I am going through and simply share my experiences has been so helpful. There are a few friends and especially my mother, who just listen, understand and accept me. It is something that I might have missed, if I hadn’t been down this trail before. I have come to believe that it is something so important in our life. To have friends who accept us, believe in us and approve of who we are. I think this is something which I was missing in July when I came back – which had intense impact on my experience coming back to the west.

Upon leaving Africa, I remember sitting on the plane and being so disgusted with myself. I looked at the man who I was and had become and was just frustrated. I think this was primarily because I had lost a sense of understanding, of confidence – knowing who I was and am, especially in the eyes of the Lord. Elements of my thinking, made me feel like I had compromised on the very essence of who I was. Change occurred, but not in positive ways which I had intended.

Surprisingly though, after coming home the last month has shown me something much different. It is true, I had changed – but in an isolated environment in Africa, there was no real perspective for me. Coming home, I have seen that a lot of change was taking place, much of which I was unaware of. It is so bizarre how so much has come back into perspective for me. Often it just causes me to thank God and know that he is good. I really do feel that regardless of whatever shell I put myself in out there, he was looking after me and cultivating things of which I had no idea. It is good to be back and God has been so good giving me grace in this time period, this I know without doubt.