I am a real fan of traveling. I like to see the world and explore new places. I like to see new cultures and explore new foods. Unfortunately this traveling malarkey involves the actual traveling there in the first place. And that is something i am not a fan of. The holiday brochures and travel programs never show the massive queues at baggage check-in, being frisked by over zealous security personnel, or the hours and hours of waiting around. So as excited as I was to be traveling to Mozambique to see the work of The Leprosy Mission in action, the process of getting there was not filling me with quite so much joy.
I am traveling the 9278 miles from Tiverton, Devon to Pemba, Mozambique (according to the all knowing Google maps, which reliably informs me that should I want to walk it would take me a mere 111 days!) with my colleague Lisa. Hooray you might think, someone to share the hours of monotony whilst trapped inside a plane. Alas you are wrong as Lisa is a sleeper. Before we have even taken off she is soundly asleep and dead to the world – only awakening to complain that she missed the opportunity for a G&T!
Along with the boredom, the waiting and the feeling that you are not getting anyway quickly, I hate the seemingly senseless rules. I get that security procedures are there for our safety and it is the past actions of a few which cause problems for us all now. But I would like to know why a bottle of water bought in the Nairobi departure lounge had to go back to the shop to be put in a sealed bag before we could go into the boarding gate area and proceed to drink said water. Or why I had to down a small can of coke which had gone through the scanners separately, but the bottle of perfume I was carrying was totally fine….not that I am complaining because I would hate to drink that much perfume!
Well you will be pleased to hear that after 28 hours of traveling we safely arrived in Mozambique, to a warm reception of 26oC, which felt hotter due to the extremely high humidity. So here we are, my first time in Africa and Lisa’s first time in Mozambique. We are ready to go and see all the exciting projects, inspirational work and wonderful people that all make up The Leprosy Mission’s work here in this foreign land. However, my overwhelming desire is to sit down and rest – yet this is what I have been doing for 2 days.
It turns out that traveling can be tiring work, hard work, draining work. There can be so much focus on the final destination and all the hopes and expectations that come with it, that you can lose sight of the enormous distances that you have traveled already.
In the past the projects that I have been involved in have been more successful when they have been pre-traveled by prayer. When the foundations have been laid by days, weeks even months of prayer. This can seem like time sat down doing nothing when we all want to get going and do something more ‘visible’ and ‘practical’. Like all the procedures that we go through at the airports, it can seem a bit frustrating when all we want to do is get on and fly. But without it I don’t believe we’d get half as far, if we even get to take off at all. Prayer is so significant to the success of the Mission’s work over the years and it is something I praise God for – the faithful prayers of so many people around the world. So I pray that this trip will be a success too, that we will come home with some wonderful stories and many positive experiences of God in action through the work of TLM in Mozambique. And just as my desire was to sit down after a long journey traveling here, I hope that my desire at the end of the Mozambican journey will also be to sit back down and once again return to prayer and praise for all that I have experienced.