Mission Trip Reflections - 2010

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Mission Trip - 2010 - Tanzania Reflections   
(article from Trinity Tidings, Sept 2010)

Reflections from a Tanzania Mission Trippers...

It’s hard to pick one event. These trips are at the very least life perspective, if not life altering. We are very impressed and humbled when we visited Elerai Lutheran Church in Arusha. The quiet and strong faith these people have is impressive. They do so much with so little! It’s not a question if, but when we can return to Tanzania.
Shannon Dehen

Reflections from a Tanzania Mission Trippers...

After returning from Tanzania - I had so many people ask me if my trip was FUN.  It wasn't a question I expected, and one I wasn't sure how to answer.  I had FUN getting to know my fellow travelers, FUN at the Peanut butter parties and Fun reliving some of our experiences....  But it wasn't a vacation.  Was our mission trip fun?  I haven't been able to describe it as FUN, at least my idea of FUN.  I can say, it was educational, eye opening, and meaningful. 

I came away feeling blessed and thankful for so many things, my close family, education, food choices, hot water and flush toilets.  But there was more.  I was awed at how welcome everyone made us feel no matter where we were.  I was impressed with how hard the students worked to be successful in school.  I was inspired by their grateful attitudes.  I was touched by their love. 

When I returned home, I had trouble sleeping.  I lay awake by 4 AM each morning unable to stop the onslaught of memories and experiences.  As I processed all I experienced I wondered what I would take away from this trip.  I don't typically delve deep into the meaning of things.  I take my experiences at face value and move on.  So...would my lifestyle change?    I realized we are spoiled, and wasteful.  Would I change my habits? My attitude? In the coming months, would I continue to be grateful for all I had?  Could I even process the experience?

It's been a few weeks now, and sometimes it feels like a lifetime. I still wonder what can I do.  How can I "Let my Light Shine" - right where I am? As I write, I've decided to set a few goals based on my experiences. 1) Be thankful, even when given challenges.  2) Be welcoming, open up and accept others with love. 3) Help those in need in our community - even small acts of kindness can make a big difference. & 4) Become aware of how we waste.  Look for small changes that make a difference.

I met some very special students while in Africa and hopefully our visit and fund raising was beneficial not only financially, but also emotionally.  I hope it helped them realize God's love can be expressed in so many ways, I know it helped me.

With Love,

Sheila Niemeyer