How Do I Leave?

By Savannah Swanner | Oct 16, 2012

How do I leave?  How can I come, love so hard, and then just leave?  What kind of love just comes and then leaves?  If I am to be showing Christ’s unending love, then how will my precious children know Christ’s unending love for them if almost everyone who comes to love them eventually leaves?  I can tell them through a translator that although I am leaving, Christ will never leave them.  I can tell them through a translator that no matter who comes and goes there will always be One constant – Jesus.  But I cannot really tell them.  I cannot pour my heart out to them in words that they can understand.  Instead, all I seem to be able to do is cry.  I love my angels.

Words from training continue to flash through my mind.  I was told as a Volunteer in Mission my job was to go, to see, to come home, and then to tell.  My least week has come and gone. I’ll be headed home soon.  I suppose it is my time to tell.

Tanzania is not a savage place filled with savage people like the movies often portray Africa.  Instead, it is much like home.  There are good, kindhearted people and there are those seeking evil and destruction.  There are safe places and dangerous ones.  On almost every street corner you can find some type of church.  Most of these churches are full every Sunday, but like in the States, going to church means very little unless you allow His Word to transform your life.  Sadly, yet similar to home, lots of people go to church but when you look at a “Christian’s” life compared to an unbeliever, often, there is no difference.  2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, you are a new creation.  The old has gone, the new has come.”  As a collective whole, as believers in Jesus Christ, our lives should look drastically different when compared to non-Christians.  This is a problem in the States, but Tanzania sadly seems to also fall under this same umbrella.  Tarime is known for its high rate of female genital mutilation.  It is a rare case to find parents who do not beat their children.  A common idea here is that a wife deserves beatings from her husband when she disobeys.  Sexual sin is rampant, even down to the kindergarten children.  Abortions, although illegal in Tanzania, count in the hundreds daily just in the Mara region.  Husbands and wives are rarely faithful to their spouse.  So much sin, hurt, and damage, but about 90% of Tarime people are “Christians.”  It should not be this way.  When people truly believe in their hearts that Christ is their One and only Savior then their lives change.   Their lives change so much that other people look at them and ask, “What happened to this person – they are completely different.”  Like so many people in America, many people here say they are Christians but their actions, their words, their whole lives lead you to believe otherwise.  Originally, when leaving the States, I thought I was leaving this problem behind.  I thought the Tanzanians would have less and therefore have less pulling them away from God.  But I have discovered that this problem of claiming Christianity with your mouth but your actions completely negating your claim is a universal problem.  The problem is we hunger for what the world hungers form.  We hunger for what our flesh says will be satisfying.  But after having our fill of worldly and fleshly desires we find we are still hungry.  We must devour more and more, yet we never reach contentment, let alone fulfillment.  I never recognized my hunger until I actually got a taste of what it felt to be completely fulfilled.  I tasted and felt Jesus in my life.  Jesus says to the Samaritan woman a the well, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst.  Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:13-14).  I feel this spring.  When I choose to walk with God, when I choose to walk in the Spirit, I am connected to something much greater than my human desires.  I am connected to unending love.  I am connected to Jesus.  This is what the Tanzanians need.  This is what Americans need.

Although at times in Tanzania I felt completely overwhelmed by the darkness and sin surrounding Tarime, there was always one constant source of light, my angels.  The children at Angel House are not free of sin.  They hit, beat, and scream, like most other children, but there is hope in their eyes.  There is hope that they may actually achieve their dreams.  There is hope for tomorrow.  My angels love hard, and they love fast.  They are not clouded with worries of not knowing where their next meal will come from.  Instead, they are free to be children.  My prayer and hope is that as they grow they choose and continue to walk with the One who is always constant.  The One who never leaves.  The One who I hope I represented well.  My Jesus Christ.  I have received so much from my angels, their hugs, kisses, squeezes.  How can you leave?  How can I leave them?  It is not without tears of sadness and tears of joy.  It is not without carving out a piece of my heart and leaving it behind.  I love them.  God has plans for everything and everyone.  With this knowledge, I am leaving in faith, knowing a Mighty God cares for my angels.  I am coming back to tell and to share.  I don’t know my next step or journey, but I know God is in it.  One day, I pray I will be able to come back to visit.  Thank you for coming with me on this journey.  Thank you for your prayers, letters, and financial support.  Thank you for helping make this possible.  See you in America!

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