Africa is a dirty place. In the midst of her breathtaking views, vivid colors, stunning scenery, and beautiful peoples, much of Africa is raw, organic, and just down right dirty. You cannot be here and experience all that Africa has to offer without getting dirty.
We came to Africa because we knew that God was leading us here. Calling us to serve as a part of the AIM AIR team: supporting missionaries, and the local church, in difficult and hard to reach places. I am incredibly humbled to be serving in this way. As I mentioned in our last newsletter, I feel that it's an awesome responsibility. Recently, however, I have been confronted with the reality that my job as a pilot is really a small part in what we are here to do, and more importantly, who we are called to be. Like many things in life, this reality is easier said than done. Can we get real for a minute?
Since arriving here in Loki, I have really struggled to understand what this "missionary" thing should look like. The fact that I have a very specific job only makes things more difficult. There is a strong temptation to simply be faithful to carry out my duties as an AIM AIR pilot/mechanic and excuse myself from everything else. As much as I try (whether right or wrong) to keep myself focused on just those things relating to AIM AIR: the flights, the cargo, the airstrips, etc., I find myself getting "dirty" with everything else. The lines separating my role as pilot for AIM AIR, my identity as a Christ-follower, and the "calling" as a missionary are fuzzier than ever before. Everyday I'm finding myself covered with the dirt of Africa: the extreme physical need, the spiritual darkness, the harshness of the landscape and the people therein, the struggle to relate, and countless other complex issues that I struggle to define. I'm finding myself daily putting on dirty clothes, and that makes me uncomfortable.
So here's where I try to tie it all together with a nice, clean conclusion: something we all can feel good about at the end of the day. Yet this is exactly the point I'm trying to make: there are no clean conclusions. I'm struggling to understand my role in the big picture: what God really wants me to do and who He wants me to be. The only thing that I am slowly beginning to understand and maybe trying to embrace, is that perhaps God just wants me to stop trying so hard to keep my clothes clean? Maybe that is what being a missionary, and a Christian, are really all about? Getting dirty.