This morning, for the umpteenth time in the past 12 months I boarded a flight to leave Ivory Coast. In a week interacting with friends and acquaintances in Abidjan, I realised many haven’t worked out that I no longer live in the city, leaving as I did at the end of 2012, which of course isn’t so long ago. There was a mega-concert by the Belgian artist, Stromae, on Saturday night, a TedX Abidjan event this afternoon (which by accounts on social media seems to have been quite special), and then this next week there will be the annual meetings of the African Development Bank. In short, it looks like exciting times, while I’m missing out on the lot.
Today, it was interesting in this mood to be continuing my reading of Metaxas’ Bonhoeffer biography, and in particular the part where he left a Germany on the verge of World War 2, for the safety of an arranging lectureship in the USA. Almost as soon as he arrived in New York, he realised it had been the wrong move, and that his destiny (life mission) lay back in Germany, despite the very real risks to his life (which proved to be real).
For the pastor Bonhoeffer, at a moment of world historical importance, this was the voice of God calling him back to his mission. I wouldn’t see my situation quite so dramatically, but it’s interesting to compare that feeling of being in the wrong place, and being out of line with a mission. Bonhoeffer’s short second trip to the US was useful in helping to clarify his thinking on his personal mission, and also the global church. And, for me, being away from Abidjan, is part of a process of growing, while seeking to still stay engaged. I think the tricky bit is that latter half – of growing and becoming stronger while not disengaging/losing touch of the movement.