I don't really know why I entitled this blog with "cheers love", expect that I couldn't find a better phrase to signify that I am now safely (semi-)home in the UK with my parents, dog and four chickens!
The flights were long as usual, but I met an interesting lady sitting next to me (about my age), who was Gabonese, but lived in Washington DC for the past several years. She was well dressed and had lots of designer bags with her. She goes home to Gabon every year to visit her parents in Libreville, where they work for the local government.
I was pretty amazed by how little she told me that she interacted with the Gabonese outside her home/sports club (country club). When I told her about the work I was doing with the church-- things like venturing into villages, mixing cement, pouring church floors, working with abandoned kids...etc, as well as things like taking taxi buses or visiting newly planted church and communities in villages-- she was shocked. She said that she has NEVER visited a village outside of Libreville, nor has she ever ridden in a taxi bus, ventured into neighbourhoods, urban markets... etc. BUT! The reason I tell you about this interaction is not intended to make you all think down upon her- not at all. I just so often find myself VERY critical of the Western world-- and the western church-- for taking things for granted, and here I was talking to a Gabonese woman who was probably more sheltered than most Americans I knew.
This does bring up a good point: About a month ago, I heard Kevin DeYoung speak at a conference in San Diego, and he said that one of the saddest things that we as Americans do is hate our local church, and revere churches in other countries- especially if they are facing terrible hardships in some way. The point, however, is that God created the Church as ONE body- it's not "us" vs "them", but instead it's "all of us". Why would I ever disparage Christ's church the way do when it comes to (especially) the American church? He took the whole church as His bride and I would never sound off on someone's wife right in front of her husband's face. What I need to do is pray for the church and even more so for my attitude about the church. If there is something going on that is not right in a church, I should talk to the person about it or meet with a pastor- not just talk behind people's backs and whine (and I have been very guilty of this in the past).
I hope that as I come across more things that often frustrate me in the Western world- things like $500 pots and pans, new iphones, fancy cars-- that I will remember how God loves each person equally, and that it does me no good to hold up all my frustrations so that I become bitter and resentful about those who "have" as opposed to those who "have not". Instead, remember that God loves his WHOLE church and He has blessed me with experiences that may help me change things in my life based on what I learned in Gabon, and that He will ultimately use these things to His glory.