The Heartbeat


I just left South Africa yesterday and have been reflecting on my time there. I figured at this point I’d have this massive amounts of information about my trip to share, but for some reason all I can do is reflect on how this experience has shaped me….and that’s unclear to this point.

One impression that I can’t shake is the sense that Africa is the heartbeat of our world. I know this may be a silly conclusion considering I only visited South Africa and that there is the rest of this massive continent to experience. I can’t really explain it, but from what others who have shared with me their experience in Africa, maybe I can now understand them a bit better now.

Maybe it’s this crippling tension that the most beautiful place on earth is also a nest for the most evil ugliness of man. It’s a contradiction that your heart can’t help but root itself into, and therefore, in a sense, you may never leave even if you’ve gotten on a plane and flown away. I pray that this is the case. I pray that I can play a tiny part in burying this contradiction and putting it where it belongs. In the grave.


7 thoughts on “The Heartbeat

  1. I just came back from South Africa and I’m experiencing the same kind of thing, where I really have no idea what I did or what happened to me. I’m still unable to really think about it. Thanks for sharing this post!

  2. The students at our school are building a school up in Sierra Leone, a place that was destroyed during the civil war, and we have a sister school in South Africa. Anytime students/teachers/community come back from Africa or Sierra Leone, they always talk about leaving a piece of their heart in Africa. Africa really transforms lives forever. Thanks for this post and this blog.

  3. Hey man-

    I’ve been readin gyour blog for quite some time and finally thought I’d chip in two cents because I really connected with this post. I just got back form spending six months hanging out in the ghettos and gang prisons of Guatemala and I think I know how you feel. People ask me about the trip and I don’t know what to say; all I know is that I have been radically transformed. Sometimes I even feel isolated because I feel like not many folks here can understand; not to mention my own inability describe what we experienced. I was a youth pastor for six years before I resigned, sold the house, and decided to take my family to Guatemala, and I have to say it was the best things that ever happened to us. Can’t wait to go back.

    Maybe we don’t really need to find words to express how we’ve been changed, maybe the changes we make in our lives will bring about so much peace and joy that it will speak for itself. Peace to you.

  4. Sometimes I think that we are not so much changed as we are reconnected with our selves as human and dependent on one another. I always experience reverse culture shock as a feeling of loneliness.

  5. My wife and I moved to SA 2 years ago to work with a performing arts ministry called 13thFLOOR ( We came on holiday to check out the ministry, loved it and moved here. We are moving back to the States in January and I will really miss this place. Its a wonderful country. Cheers.


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