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In the Void of Poverty

In the void The running water in my comfy apartment cannot help the hurt in my heart today. The grande nonfat latte I picked up from my favorite coffee shop didn’t help, either.

American luxuries I once looked forward to now feel empty, as nothing fills the void that Africa left.

Someone once said, “Once you get the dust of Africa on your feet, it will never leave you.”

Every day further away from Rwanda, the more I ache to be there. It’s been six weeks since my return from Africa, yet some moments, I feel as if I just stepped off the plane and into this alternate reality called America.

What does a person do after experiencing poverty firsthand?

People were intrigued and interested for a short amount of time, but then the interest faded. And I’m left to pick up the pieces of my broken heart.

Leaving the kids I loved in Kigali, Rwanda, was like a death. It happens to most people who spend any amount of time away from home, and then return.

I cannot blame those around me who seemingly lose interest. The truth is, they have their own concerns, challenges, and broken hearts.

Life continued while I was away. It doesn’t mean people don’t care. It just means that new things sweep them up in the ever-flowing, ever-changing current of life.

So now I learn how to live post-Rwanda. I learn how to live with feet dirtied by the dust, heartache and beauty of poverty in Africa. Some days, my heart breaks and I lean harder on Jesus to help me through the sorrow. But I also want to use the sorrow to propel my heart to action.

God uncovered a deep passion in my heart for orphans in Rwanda who are hurting. Yet so many people in my own city hurt. So many in my own neighborhood are crying out for a Savior. It just looks different.

The U.S. is a stark reality when compared with the developing world. But for now, the Lord has me here in America, like most of you who are reading this. A dear friend of mine exhorted me: Don’t live in sadness.

Pray. Engage. Invest.

I need not be in Africa in order to shape Africa, to have a profound impact on a child in poverty [3]. I simply need a heart that prays and longs for healing and blessing upon a continent too often overlooked.

I pray that each of us may turn the void in our hearts into an expanded place to love others at a level we have never yet experienced.