I’m one week into my two-week stay in Gabon, Africa. My sister Kelli and I have been joint blogging about our trip at a separate blog (The Africa Adventure). One of the things I mentioned there is that I was surprised how much the poverty here hasn’t overwhelmed me. I do expect this to hit more when I get back to the US, and I see and hear people talk so casually about the excess we have as Americans. I do think, though, that I’m getting a better sense of perspective and the right priorities. Even as Kelli and I have been thinking about and planning for the souvenirs we want to take back to friends and family, I’ve been thinking about Hope House and my conversation with Pastor Israel, about the way that they’re unsure sometimes of where their next meal is coming from. I do want things to remember my time here, and I want to take a few gifts home to thank friends and family for their support over the last several months, but at the same time, I’m not comfortable spending a lot on them.

On Saturday, after we return from Bongolo, we’ll be going to back to Hope House one more time. I’ve asked Tim if we can stop and buy some food to take with us. He suggested meat, as that is probably the thing that blows their food budget the most.

I just keep thinking, how can I spend frivolous money when there are people who don’t have enough food to eat? I remember a while ago, I read a blog post from Shaun Groves after he had returned from a Compassion trip (I think to the Dominican Republic), and he talked about this very thing. I wish I could find the specific post so I could link to it, but he talked about needing to adjust back to life in the US, to find a balance between giving to the poor and yet appreciating the blessings that God had given him. This is something I’ve been thinking about for a while, and I expect this trip will just continue to bring it into focus.

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