Krissy and I stayed in Accra Ghana for 7 months in the year 2000. The time impacted our lives far more than any other we've shared together. I remember many beautiful locations fondly... but none more than our December ascent into the sky the night we left Africa.
We arrived as wide-eyed, zealous and (almost embarrassingly now) ignorant kids. We were leaving forever changed and we didn't know what it would feel like to return to a familiar place... as different people. We said goodbye to our friend Albert (who took half a year to pour goodness into our lives) at the airport not knowing if we'd ever see him again.
As the plane took off, for a few fleeting moments I could see thousands of little lights sparkling on the dark streets of the city. Their source was old coffee cans filled with kerosene, lit so humble men and women could sell their kalawole, or fried cassava. It was beautiful. I knew many people on these streets that I'd never see again. I shared in their lives as they changed mine.
And then it was gone.
Those few seconds in time over Accra are my #5 favorite place on their earth.
WHY is it #5?
I think in retrospect it's because I just knew we could never go back there. It's like the end of the "Voyage of the Dawn Treader" story where Aslan tells Edmund and Lucy that they can't return to Narnia.
"I shall be watching you always. In your world, I have another name. You must learn to know me by it. That was the very reason you were brought to Narnia; that by knowing me here for a little, you may know me better there."
That's what Ghana was for Krissy and I. It was our time to learn how to function as adults with our God. It was a time and place that ended with the clear commission to return to change the culture of our "own world". Maybe one day we'll return to Ghana but it will be very different. We can never really "go back".
A few short seconds 1000 feet over Accra will live on in my spirit as I daily remember my Holy charge to shape my homeland.
If you missed it:
- The Honorable Mentions