After my wife and I reluctantly agreed to accompany our fifth and final child on his senior class trip to Cancun at Spring Break, I vowed that our next trip abroad would be missional in nature.  Shortly thereafter, my good friend, Bob Pearson, founder of Horizon International, invited us to accompany him and a small group of supporters to Zimbabwe in July.  Severe knee problems prevented Elaine from signing up, while severe political unrest in Zimbabwe forced us to redirect our trip to South Africa.  We fly out in the morning.

Horizon International is an HIV/AIDS orphan relief organization that brings help and hope to the hundreds of thousands of African children who have lost their parents to the AIDS pandemic.  They are in the midst of one of the greatest human tragedies in the history of mankind.  And, they’re making a very real and positive difference in the lives of these kids.

To my shame, this is my first ever mission trip.  Excuses were easy to come by while raising five children and building a business.  But, the time has come and I sincerely hope this will be the first of many such trips to also include the other six members of our family and our grandchildren.  In recent years, I’ve coined the phrase, “you cannot have a perspective that you’ve never had“.  I’m told by those who have gone before me that a trip like this will give me a new perspective that is truly life-changing.   My pastor says it will wreck me…in a good way.  I say, bring it on!

Am I nervous?  Yes, I am, on two fronts.  I’m nervous about those I’m leaving behind –family, friends and business associates.  I will miss many and, no doubt, be constantly curious as to the worldly entanglements left behind that took over half a century to create.  I’m also nervous about what South Africa has in store for us.  Can we truly make a meaningful difference in two short weeks?  What about health and safety concerns?  Will I never want to leave or never want to go back again?  Yes, I’m nervous…and that’s a good thing.

I don’t think I’ll be blog-enabled while on the trip, so I’ll look forward to sharing the highlights of my great adventure with you upon my return on July 19.  So, as my soon-to-be South African friends would say, tutaonana (until next time)…