In or Out?

Walking into Faith Church after my first international sojourn, the first person I saw in the sanctuary was Scott Kellermann. This unexpected meeting with the missionary doc and friend would begin conversations to open the door to the next chapter of my video ministry abroad.

A return to Africa has been on my mind ever since I left Nairobi, Kenya, for London last June. Since the July encounter, Scott and I met several times to discuss a trip to the Bwindi compound, with hospital and school, to live and learn about the lives of the Batwa pygmies in the African jungle. As Scott and I sat down to talk, he looked me in the eye and agreed that once you’ve been to Africa, it gets into your soul and you got to go back.

scott and pat

What is it about the place that tugs on you? As simply as I can put it, to survive is to succeed. Depending where you are in sub-Saharan Africa, everything is hard. Transportation and potable water are two things we take for granted at home. They are not easily accessible. In Africa, as a visitor, your focus is on making it through the day. Putting on airs, or building phony facades is not necessary, for where are you going, or who are you trying to impress? Parts of you begin to get stripped away leaving only the essential you in this environment. That is what I love about Africa. I begin to see what kind of man I really am.

Scott has been encouraging and challenging. The lives and history of the Batwa his foundation serves is compelling. The government of Uganda forced them out of their ancestral home in the Impenetrable Forest to make a refuge for the mountain gorillas. The pygmies are now a nomadic tribe with no land of their own, no modern skills. There’s a need, he says, to get their story recorded before the elders leave us.

How exciting to capture scenes and accounts of an ancient life on video. Every day I think and dream of stories, anticipate production challenges. But I also wonder whether I’m good enough or serious enough to see this through.

It would be easy and stress-free to stay put. It’s a long and expensive trip. I’ll leave home for three months which burdens my family. But what can I gain from agonizing about these issues or emotions? I’d lose focus on the things I need to do before I leave. The thrill, adventure and communion with the Holy Spirit far outweigh my worldly worries.

Through prayer, I’ve given God all my concerns for this upcoming trip. His peace and direction have come quickly, soothing my spirit. What a feeling. What a God. What an opportunity he’s presented me.

I’m all in.

I can’t wait to tell my new friends in Uganda my story of God’s faithfulness.