Eight Action Packers and a Big Duffel Bag
We leave for Zambia in one week. We’ve spent the last couple of days sorting stuff, trying to guess how useful various items will be, playing “Tetris” to make everything fit, and then weighing the packed boxes (our limit is 50 lbs per piece). This does not count the 4 huge boxes of books we’ve already mailed.
It seems like we’re taking an awful lot. I’m not complaining about how much we have to pack, I’m rejoicing in the blessings God has given us – even as I feel a bit awkward thinking about showing up in our future hometown with so many things.
It’s a dilemma worth considering: how much do we need to do the work we’re going for? What things will help our family stay happy and healthy in the long run? What things might distract us from doing what we need to do, from relying on our new neighbors, or from forming the relationships that will make this project happen?
Bring too little, and we risk hurting ourselves and hindering our long-term ability to stay in the field. So yes, that bucket of ibuprofen and malaria meds and suturing equipment needs to come. But so do the books for pleasure reading, the homeschool supplies, the board games, the laptops, and the Lego.
Bring too much, and we build a wall between us and the people we came to serve. So we leave behind the TV. We look for an “average” house. We buy local furniture. We learn to enjoy and prepare traditional foods. We recreate locally. We visit the town butcher, tailor, and market. We learn to speak the local language.
We’ll still have a computer, and a car, and a refrigerator, and many things that the “average” African may not have. But in spite of the fact that our worldly possessions now take up only 38 cubic feet of space, I wouldn’t be surprised if we end up with many things that the “average” American doesn’t have, either.
“For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it” (Mark 8:35).