81 hours. That is the amount of time it took us to get home from Southeast Asia. We had unintentional “sightseeing” connections (with a few delays) that made our journey home an adventure! Manila, Singapore, Jakarta, Tokyo…those are a few of the places we stopped in our 4 days of travel home. We loved it…mostly. And now we are home. Other than some jet lag, we have jumped back into life.
Many have asked how our trip was. It was awesome, hard, beautiful, disgusting, smelly, inspiring, challenging and 100% totally worth it. What we saw and experienced was mind blowing, but yet simple. We are still working on how to communicate the various experiences in words and pictures. We ate a fruit, durian, that really had to be smelled and tasted to truly understand. We have pictures (our faces eating it should give an idea of the smell!) but to be there holding the fruit, immerged in the culture that loves it, smelling it and then trying to swallow it is hard to describe without actually BEING there. No words can adequately describe durian.
Seeing it is different than experiencing it. Paul, throughout the New Testament, talks often of his visits to people. He explains the need to get there to see firsthand the issues they are facing, the encouragement he wrote to them and the need to know how to pray. We realized the value in visiting. The value in seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, and meeting people is the whole experience…the real deal. Some days were long and tiring, but the rewards were greater than the trials.
The Yada Project has 3 goals:
*Yada- the Hebrew word “to know”
1. Visit and experience life with missionaries. Get “to know” them and their families, encourage them in their work, see firsthand what they do, and hear their heart for the world.
2. Share stories of all that God is doing in the world. Connect the local church with how God is at work in the world and connect those that want to serve short-term/long-term with organizations that need volunteers, and attempt to “bridge” the cultures “to know” and care for one another.
3. Support financially through providing a larger market for artisans and organizations that have products to sell through a fair trade marketplace. We believe there is a time for aid, but trade will give opportunity for success, self-sufficiency and respect. Allow people to join in what God is doing through buying and supporting those far less fortunate and get “to know” artisans that work to support their families on what they sell.
Those 3 values of The Yada Project were accomplished…above and beyond our expectations. It was amazing to see our vision for The Yada Project continue to take shape. Pretty awesome to be a part of what God is doing. We pray that He will use our small steps of faith to impact the world around us.
We will be setting up times to show off some really cool products we found, share some more experiences and give ways for you to get involved in the next few weeks. Watch for those opportunities!