The flight to Ilebo was uneventful, though Alessandra was nervous about landing there on a dirt landing strip. But Dan Carson seemed comfortable with such a challenge after years of experience. The plane landed, and Alessandra was surrounded by the Carmichael family, welcomed with hugs.
As the Land Cruiser covered the short distance from the airport to the home that the Carmichaels rented, Alessandra seemed incapable of taking in all that she saw. It was hard to believe that she was actually in the heart of Africa and that the scenes all around her were real and not part of a National Geographic magazine. Everywhere she looked, the children appeared to be dressed poorly. The rags on some were dirtier than what they used to clean floors back home. She was surprised to see a family of enormous pigs walking beside the car. As near as the animals were to the children, the children didn’t seem to notice them.
“Why aren’t those kids afraid to walk alongside those pigs?” Alessandra asked. “Won’t those pigs harm them?”
“The children are as used to the pigs as the pigs are to them. Besides, they are surprisingly tame,” Rob said.
The culture shock, the harsh reality that Alessandra was feeling forced her to re-evaluate her perspective and attitude. So many things on this trip challenged her in a variety of ways. She vowed to be more thankful overall for the simple blessings in her life. Colossian 3:15 encourages, “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which you are called in one body; and be thankful.” Like Alessandra, let’s learn to cultivate a heart of gratitude for the bounty we often take for granted.