Africa, There And Back Again

Written by Judith Devillers, Lahash Finance Director

Like a Hobbit, I am not made for adventure.
I had many reasons for not going to Africa with the Lahash team — I’m too old, I’m not a good traveler (in fact I dislike any kind of traveling), and then perhaps more importantly the question, why go? I had no mission to accomplish, and nothing I felt I could contribute to those we were visiting.

I asked God, “What do you want me to do here?”  The only words that came to me were, “Be still and know that I am God.”  Ultimately I was simply there, being there in Africa with my brothers and sisters on the other side of the world.

Judith and Ibrahimu meeting for the first time.

One person I anticipated simply being with was a special young man named Ibrahimu. He lives in Dodoma, Tanzania, where I have been sponsoring him through Lahash’s partnership with Grace & Healing Ministry. Years ago when I first looked through the binder that Katie, the Lahash Sponsorship Director, has of children without sponsors, I noticed the photo of an older teenage boy. Katie said most people want a young child to sponsor. However, I have a son who is now grown, and know that teenage boys need extra prayers. I thought maybe Ibrahimu needed me. Now, two years later, I was excited to meet this young man I had been praying for.

Our visit was delightful. Ibrahimu is a dear sweet young man, very thoughtful and gracious. I felt like I was meeting a relative I hadn’t seen in a long time; I felt great joy. He invited me to his house for lunch, which was prepared by his niece, since the aunt who he lives with was away. The food was good. He shared pictures with me from his family album. He is in trade school now and told me about his classes and what he was learning. He even made great effort to get copies of his school reports to show me how well he was doing is school. He will graduate in November. He thanked me several times, because the sponsorship allowed him to be in school. I am so very proud of him. He will be in my heart always.

Judith “thriving” in Tanzania

When we started the trip I was concerned whether I would survive; but actually I thrived. I had my 70th birthday a week into the trip, complete with a cake thanks to the kindness of new friends. When back home I thought back on the highlights of the trip, and realized the little inconveniences seemed rather dim in my memory compared to the rest.
So there were ants in my room in Tanzania, they were tiny.
And a lizard on my wall, he was harmless.
The dust and mosquito bites and the wild taxi and bus rides blended as part of the scenery; a mere backdrop to such a worthwhile experience. Believe me, if I can do it, anyone can!

I am still not sure I am made for adventure, but after spending time with these dear friends in Tanzania I am convinced that some adventures are worth it.