Why Do I Do This?

It is 7:30 in the morning. I just finished making a batch of banana bread and a batch of regular bread. Why? I have been awake since 4:00 am after about 4 hours of sleep. My body feels terrible. I have a strange headache even though I have taken medicine. My muscles are very stiff after a very restless sleep, where I was plagued with very real yet disjointed dreams. I have a hard time focusing my mind. I thought of soaking in a bath tub, watching a TV show or movie, reading a book, anything to occupy my time and my mind. My thoughts are a jumbled mess, weaving back and forth between Africa, North and South America. I drift between my very modern life and the primitive life of the people that I work with in these far away lands.

The bread? that is to keep my hands and body busy while my mind tries to sort out what races back and forth through it. It helps me to feel productive even though what I do each day seems so miniscule.

The 45 hours that I spent traveling back from Malawi have hammered my body, complicated with the day versus night time difference. I fight sleep all day whenever I sit down and at night I can't sleep inspite of being so tired. I take a nap during the day because I can't go any longer and wake up in a zombie like coma. I fight for an hour to get my body going and my head cleared. How do I deal with jet lag? Why do I deal with jet lag?

I go back to my title "Why do I do this?" Why do I put myself through such physical hell? Why do I spend weeks away from my family in conditions that push me to the edge. The water is polluted the food is suspect at best. The bugs are plentiful and often anxious to bite me. I hate having to cover myself with bug repellant, and sleep under a mosquito net but the alternative is much worse. There is always the concern that I will get some severe sickness due to a bug bite, contaminated food, dirty water, or just by shaking the hand of a little child. I often yearn for refuge as I work under these trying conditions, refuge in the word of God, refuge in the encouraging words of my family and friends over the internet (when it is available).

The heat and humidity is a constant challenge this time of year. I struggle to sleep at night as the thin foam pad that I sleep on seems to absorb every ounce of body heat multiply it and thrush it back at me throughout the night. I am constantly searching for a less hostile spot on the mattress where the heat is less intense. I roll to the other side and find relief just long enough to drift back to sleep before the mattress scorches me again. It does make it easier to get out of bed in the morning.

This last trip I had the pleasure to share my room with a large rat. He even decided to share my food, chewing through the plastic bag to get to my trail mix. I zipped my food inside my computer bag but found that he had worked the zipper open enough to squirm in for a late night snack. The thoughts of that rat crawling around on my bed as I slept added a sense of calm and serenity to my nights. NOT!

So why do I do it? Why not get a nice comfortable job here locally that pays better without all of the fringe benefits of third and fourth world travel. Why? Why? Why? Why would anyone take the path that I have taken? Was I somehow warped in my childhood as my mother shared with me The Road Less Traveled or No Man is an Island? Am I seeking some Holy Grail? Some Shangi La? The Impossible Dream?

It comes down to one simple fact. The Lord has asked me to do it and I must obey. I must have the understanding and the faith that my vision is limited and God knows all.  That even though I don't like all of what I have to go through, it is what is best for me. In God's infinite wisdom and intricate plan, He knows that this experience is what I need to grow and develop into the man that He needs me to be and that I would want to be if I had His perspective. God's plan is the perfect one so I follow it and watch the miracles happen.

What Miracles? Maybe tomorrow I will share some of them


  1. God will bless you and your family Lonny for doing his work and for the sacrifices you have all made. We love, respect and admire all of you.


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