Thursday, November 4, 2010

Out of Africa…

I stand here still in a state of suspension.  It’s not that I’m not home it’s just that I haven’t had enough time to let this whole trip soak in.  Perhaps it will take years to have even the beginning of a clue as to all that it’s done for us all.  Right now I find that I am home and it all is a familiar routine on some levels.  I know what to do, I know the drill but inside I find that I feel like a different person looking out on all that is oh so familiar.  Truthfully I felt the same as I entered Africa again after twenty years since I was there last.  I am mission…I’ve done this before but each trip changes me and leaves me looking out on a world I’ve seen before yet I’m not the same at all. I will attempt to relate some of the things I’ve seen and done and what I believe God is showing me through it all however this may not be the step by step and day by day thing I would have liked.  The pictures may not be in order.  I’ll go through them as they come up and see where it takes us.  For those that have thought of us, prayed for us and supported us:  thank you from the bottom of my heart.  This was a dangerous and difficult trip but something I’d do again in a heartbeat.


Returning after 20 years felt like an immense circle being completed on some levels yet on others it felt like a new beginning.  During our time in Ghana we had little time to breathe and rest but when we did we went out and saw some amazing things.  One such day we found ourselves on a beautiful beach complete with wonderful palms, sand and little beach housesWe live far inland from the ocean here in Montana so you can imagine how those that have seldom if ever seen the ocean felt at this moment.  I loved the look of the ocean through the small window on this beach shack.  The yellow of the shack and the impossible blue of the ocean stunned me and filled us all with a sense of wonder.  We had all become sensitive to the sun at this point since we were taking a medication for malaria that had this side effect but we still loved to be out with a wonderful breeze that eased the shocking heat of the sunRow after row of perfect palms stood watch over our day on the beach.  I will never get tired of the perfect tropical beauty of these trees!  Home was having one of the most beautiful Autumn seasons ever but we at this moment stood in tropical paradise.  Looking to my right I saw endless beach and perfect wavesand to my left was much the same.  Here we could rest our weary heads and soak in the enjoyment of the peace and joy of just being together to see a sight few ever get to see in their livesIt is moments like this where I recognize God pays His servants well.  I stood humbled to have the honor of seeing this beach and the ocean in Africa with my family and those t love so dearly.  Sharing my world with others is a great honor now I do this with you all as well.  Welcome to my world!  We are all pebbles on a celestial beach driven by the waves of God after all.  Waves come and go but inevitably we are all in God’s hands, He is the director of the currents of our livesI go from feeling tossed like a small stone on the beach to being immovable as a large stone No matter what being involved with trips like this can be a lonely experience on some levelsbut sharing here makes me feel that I’m showing our a closer look at who I amand that is a massive blessing:  thank you!  The many coconut trees sometimes drop a coconut early and again the theme of solitude with the potential for growth shows itself I love beaches and the sun but I have to admit that I was thankful for the breeze and the shade from the many palms.  Gabby didn’t quite know what to make of the ocean but she still had a very good timeEveryone looks at the top of a palm tree to witness its beauty but without the roots where would it be?  It seems even the palm trees are fans of soccer…no clever metaphor for thatMy daughter Danielle always sittin’ prettyGabby and her brother Michael decided to show that they were cowboys from Montana in Accra, Ghana, West AFricaLooking back on that glorious beach I recognize that God used our rare days off as much as He used the times we had ministering to churches.  Sharing this moment is a good way to start I believe!  God bless and keep you all!  You all make it so good to share these things!


  1. JUST what I have been waiting for. Your blog about your experience and what you saw, how you felt and the every lingering effects. A pleasure to come here and be the first to step over into your world for a moment. I know I am a treasured guest.

    I will come away with a good grip on just the everyday days when you were all able to just relax and be a family.

    The photos that are illustrative of how you felt and still feel, as for example the single palm tree which was sturdy, pliable and string and the each one of you standing alone in your own bodies yet a cohesive unit..doing your mission.

    Blessing to be here. (HUGS)

  2. Oh, Joe, I feel the same as Carole. This was so magnificent that I could hardly catch my breath. Here we are in America with all these gadgets and things that we "think" we can't do without (wow, we're jaded)and then there's this entire journey of yours. It touches so deeply into my heart and everyone else's that I cannot help but wonder: Who is the richer? Ghana with all it's poverty or us with everything at our fingertips. In the big picture, my answer would be Ghana for all it's God-touched sights and sounds and gratitude that still abounds in the people. And you, Joe? You are THE blessing. I am soooo thankful that I follow you and your family as you make the impact on others that is so important. God bless you, my friend :)

  3. Thabk you for this Joe I enjoyed reading it and looking at your pictures. Picking up on something Jenny said, about America (could equally be England) and all the gadgets and cant do withouts and Ghana with its poverty but god touched sights and sounds and gratitude that abounds in its people, I had voiced something similiar to this to my daughter this week, kids and adults alike here get so restless and bored, in spite of all the mod conns and electronics etc. There is much food for thought, look forward to more, God Bless - Nita.

  4. What an amazing experience you've had Joe. I live by the ocean here in New Zealand I still appreciate it's beauty, so can relate to you there I love the sound of the waves etc. Looking forward to more of your updates on your trip to Africa.

    Bless you all
    Hugs Lady J

  5. Welcome home Joe and as I read this and view each photo because I know you I read the change.
    and Wow. You have some very powerful words here along with Gods work he led you to. When you see the Ocean and all its movements how could anyone not be humbled and know . I sat in aww at the ocean last winter and did feel so small compared to what he has given to so many. You r children look like they ajusted well.
    Im happy your home safe and this for you and for your family was life changing. How could it not be so. God is amazing. He just is. I know this .
    and so my friend I cant wait to hear more of you mission and see more photos.
    Back on North American Soil is a good feeling.

  6. I read carefully what you are saying that it was not easir trip for you but you 've managing with your family very well Joe, and I was please to hear that you are enjoyed seen unchange the beach and enjoyed with your family.I am glad you are home,hope you hae a good rest.
    looking forward to hear more news:-)

  7. Hi Joe..
    these photos of the ocean are breathtaking.. each one..I can still hear the waves of the ocean.. there really is something ever so powerful and speical about the ocean.. and its ever changing.. like our lives.. and the paths we take.. some are smooth and soothing.. others are packed with bolders.. and step hills.. bringing stress to ones body.. but there is always an oasis that God leds us to.. yours at that moment in time was the awesome force Africa and its ocean gives..
    well.. I think you know what I mean even if I don't say it right.."smile"
    it really is nice having you back home within the comforting Mountain arms of Montana..
    even if its a wee bit bittersweet for you right now..
    soft hugs dear friend.

  8. Welcome home Joe. I enjoyed reading your blog and your photos of the beach are so Beautiful. The kids all look like they were having a good time. I bet each one of them have their own stories to tell. Can't wait to hear more Joe. :)

  9. Welcome back home. I know you must still be settling in yet and exhaling. Glad to see your post and your photos of your incredible trip. You are sure becoming the photographer. I loved the hole or windows in the shack and seeing the ocean. I am so relieved you and your family are all home safe. I await your stories and photos but you now settle in. I can wait ;-)
    I had forgotten to say happy birthday to your Dad. Take care now and rest up as much lays ahead.

  10. This is what i feel when im back in my second home land Joe Exaactly how u describe it.The sun the ocean Simple Nature ( is it??)
    This feeling u have is written in ur words and we all enjoy with u Tx for sharing Joe.This is soemthing u do u give us an idea how things feel when ur in We call it another Third world country..With everything in it..
    the beauty and the joy of Gods work.
    TX Joe en i know that when ur back HOME it takes some weeks to get stressed again no??
    remember the sound of the waves kissing the sand of the beach.Close ur eyes and remember.

  11. Hi Joe
    the earlier comment is from me..MJ
    i was on my niece her laptop and her G mail was open so that was the issue.

  12. It's good to have you back home so we can enjoy your experiences. I had tried to left a comment after your return, but sometimes it doesn't work, no matter what browser, it seems. Thanks for remembering me in prayer this AM.

  13. Thanks for sharing you trip Joe. The pictures are amazing and I can't wait to hear more.

  14. What a wonderful blog Joe and so glad to know you and your family are back safe at home. So many beautiful photos. I also love how your photos must have helped create your very meanful words you added with them. I am sure you will get lots of blogs and photos out of this trip. Looking forward to seeing and hearing all about it.

  15. I agree this was a lovely tribute to the country and the brothers living there. So grateful you all got home safely. Love hearing and seeing about your trip.. Thanks for sharing it with us.. : )

  16. Agree wonderful commentary on the country and your brothers there. I am so glad you all returned safely and you sharing it with all of us.. : )