July 19th, 2007

Where to Start…

As many of you know, I have now returned from my three week trip to Zambia, Africa. Most of the questions I get from friends and acquaintances are something along the lines of “how was it?”.

What do I even say to that?

I usually respond with a simple “great!”, allowing me to end the conversation there (unless they further inquire, desirous to know details).

Why? Well, how in the world do you sum up a life-changing, inspiring, emotionally trying, frustrating, exhausting experience in a few words? I imagine that only the people closest to me, having a sincere desire to learn what I’ve learned, will hear the more intimate thoughts and feelings I’ve experienced in the past few weeks.

Suffice it to say that this was an experience unlike any other, and one that I wish everybody could have.

Pondering where to start in my desire to blog about some of my experiences, I feel that I better understand Mormon when he repeatedly said that he could only write a fraction of what he had read and seen and experienced.

Anything more than that often becomes casting your pearls before swine. Not that I think any of you are swine… ;)

So, I ask for your patience, sincerity, and open hearts as in future days and weeks I select certain stories from my trip to share with the world. I hope to convey just a few of the lessons I’ve learned and things I’ve seen.

I have no idea where to start…

11 Responses to “Where to Start…”

  1. Dan
    July 19, 2007 at 11:35 am #

    so what was the point of this trip? I’m glad you had a most satisfying experience.

  2. Paradox
    July 19, 2007 at 12:22 pm #

    Perhaps at the beginning? *smiles*

    And I would say, if it doesn’t belong in words, then don’t force it either.

    God bless you for your service, and I know that the people you helped will never forget you.

  3. Bored in Vernal
    July 19, 2007 at 1:22 pm #

    Connor, I’m one of the ones who want details! I’ve been reading your Africa blog and I’ll be looking forward to your further posts on your trip.

  4. Dan P.
    July 19, 2007 at 2:37 pm #

    Well, how in the world do you sum up a life-changing, inspiring, emotionally trying, frustrating, exhausting experience in a few words?

    Those sound like the words of a new returned missionary. I suppose that those who served honorable missions and experienced that mighty change of heart will remember what they felt like when they returned home. Though you may have seen people in the most humble of circumstances as it relates to temporal things (and I sure spiritual), a lot of us have experienced those same feelings as they have served their neihbor. Having said that we can better understand Mosiah 2:17, “And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God. “

  5. danithew
    July 19, 2007 at 3:33 pm #

    So, I ask for your patience, sincerity, and open hearts

    Oh for crying out loud. Tell us some stories already.

    And I hope you took some pictures.

    :)

  6. Connor
    July 19, 2007 at 4:48 pm #

    Dan,

    so what was the point of this trip?

    There were around 25 of us on this trip together. We spent a lot of time in villages and orphanages playing with children, doing crafts, recreation, and other activities to spread love, as a “mother without borders” would do.

    We also spent a lot of time on the new piece of land that the organization has bought which will be the home to a couple hundred orphaned or vulnerable children and have classrooms, workshops, stores, training centers, and a slew of other initiatives to help the people get on their feet and become self-sufficient. We primarily did construction work: digging a big latrine, shoveling dirt from a termite mound, making bricks, hauling water back and forth from the well, gardening, clearing land, etc. I got a nice farmer’s tan. :)

    Paradox,

    And I would say, if it doesn’t belong in words, then don’t force it either.

    I don’t plan to. There are several things that fall into this category, and they are mine alone to treasure.

    Bored,

    Connor, I’m one of the ones who want details!

    I’ll try to be as detailed as possible without crossing that self-imposed line, then. :) I do want to share what I saw and learned, but need to make sure that I do it appropriately so as not to cheapen the experience or blaspheme some of the more sacred, emotional things…

    Dan P.,

    Those sound like the words of a new returned missionary.

    Agreed. In many ways this felt like my mission all over again. But on the other hand, it was far different. It’s hard to explain how. Perhaps it’s because I was able to let it affect me personally on a deeper level since I wasn’t preoccupied with teaching these people. Instead, I was letting them teach me, and they sure did…

    Danithew,

    Oh for crying out loud. Tell us some stories already.

    Hold your horses! :-P Maybe after I finish going through my inbox I’ll have some time to start on the first story… First I need to decide which ones to share.

  7. Brandon
    July 19, 2007 at 11:26 pm #

    Welcome home Connor. Sounds like your trip was just what you were hoping for. I know I am mostly a selfish person, but I am always amazed at how great it feels to try to do nice things for others. I am glad to hear that you were so moved by your experiences. I can’t wait to hear more about them.

  8. Jody
    July 20, 2007 at 10:07 am #

    I think it’s totally appropriate to limit what is shared. As with any spiritual or meaningful experience we have (which it sounds like your three weeks was), we are counseled to likewise follow the spirit when talking about it or sharing it. When in doubt, keep it to yourself. It was a gift from the Lord, and you don’t want to make light of it, or cheapen it by posting it for any joe-shmoe to see. :) It reminds me of Mary in Luke 2:19. She kept these things and pondered them in her heart. I’m sure you would consider many of the things you saw and felt as sacred. Always treat it as such (whether that’s by keeping it in your own heart, or sharing it when appropriate and guided by the spirit), and the Lord will know that he can trust you with such experiences, and will bless you with further similar experiences.

    I do look forward to further posts about your trip, though. :)

    Glad you’re back and safe, and that it was such a rewarding three weeks.

  9. Naiah
    July 20, 2007 at 2:35 pm #

    As much as you are willing to share, I want to hear it all! Like Jody said, though, keeping it to what you feel like you can or should share. I’m not at a point in my life where I can have such an experience (and the lessons, joy, insight, and challenges inherent in it), and so I beg you to share what you can. :)

  10. Michelle
    July 21, 2007 at 1:08 pm #

    Count me among the anxious who would like to hear as much as you are willing to share. Welcome home, and glad it was so wonderful, and that you are safe and well.

  11. Mark Mathson
    July 26, 2007 at 4:59 pm #

    Sometimes words aren’t enough. I can understand that. Good on you, Connor, for your willingness to do what you did. Good example for all.

Leave a Reply

Leave your opinion here. Please be nice. Your Email address will be kept private.