Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Baggage Allowance = 2 (50-lb) Bags Per Person

In recent years, I have traveled with Mary to Africa many times. Among other things, my task was to pack for the trip. That also meant re-packing for the trip home. At the start of the packing process, my mind’s eye viewed the task something like the photo above. The challenge would be to organize it all and squeeze it down into 4 tidy 50-pound bags.

Of course, I didn’t actually have all those suitcases to contend with, but I did have a hodge-podge of materials to maneuver into the stipulated size, shape and weight for international flight baggage allowance. Today, Mary and Traci are tackling that process as they prepare to return to the USA tomorrow.

Let’s just imagine for a minute what their suitcases might contain on the return trip:
  • There will be the memories of many faces and smiles and arm clasp/shoulder pats (African equivalent to American hugs). They were part of the joyful welcome from the women anticipating blessings at each location.
  • There will be the compassionate prayers of African sisters supporting their American sisters on their long journey home.
  • We need to include some stories of interesting foods, puzzling customs and shopping ventures.
  • Photos of new friends and recently discovered ministry partners will be tucked in between layers of encouragement in finding dedicated people serving God in difficult situations.
  • I also see a heap of fulfillment in being able to teach and minister to women with responsive hearts, where God was invited in to work.
  • But there is a collection of regret too, that the problems were too great to resolve in such a short time, that the money just couldn’t spread further, and that there were some who went away to return to heart-breaking situations we didn’t even learn about until later.
When Mary and Traci arrive at the airport to check in their bags, the airline workers will have no idea what treasures their scanners are examining. They will pass through customs without notice too. But God will know what’s in them. May He use them for His glory and purpose.


  1. That is a wonderful post. It really captures the incredible ministry Mary, you, Traci and others involved with you, have in Africa. And I agree that we can pray that God will use them for His glory and purpose!