Grant Arends is a 2016 MMM volunteer and has documented his time during the first team installation season. Read more about Grant’s trip HERE.

Right before I left for Africa my oldest daughter – Rachel gave me a present.  She gave me a note telling me how proud she was of her dad.  I will never throw that note away.  Nothing feels better than when your child tells YOU that they love you and are proud of you….

She also gave me a Lokai Water Bracelet.

For those that don’t know the story of the Lokai water bracelet, it is meant to illustrate that extreme ups and downs of life along with the many journeys we take along the way.

The black bead is filled with mud from the bottom of the Dead Sea. It represents the points in our lives where we dwell in absolute despair.

The white bead is filled with a drop of water from Mount Everest which represents those periods of pure joy. You know – those mountaintop experiences.

The blue beads are filled with drops of water representing where we thankfully live most of the time.

The black bead is a literal living Hell.  Thank God most of us don’t dwell there too often.  And though when living in those moments where it feels like the pain and the hurt will never go away, it generally always does, at least to some degree.

The pastor at my church says it best around Easter time when he says “The second day is never the last day…..”

And though it sounds tempting, experiencing pure “mountain top joy” wouldn’t be NEARLY as fun if we dwelled there all the time.  That feeling is so awesome because it is happens so rarely.  We Kansas sports fans experienced it for the first time in 30 years when the Royals won the World Series.  We will never forget that feeling when 800,000 fans gathered to celebrate the win.

So, this was the perfect gift from Rachel  as it represents EXACTLY what I get to witness each and every day here in Africa and it uses water to illustrate the point to boot.

When we come to a village we often arrive to see “Dead Sea” moments like this one.  I’ll never forget seeing this taking this picture as long as I live…

Water related  illnesses kill more children on this planet than AIDS, Malaria, and violence from war COMBINED.

Children should not have to live this way.  They should not dwell in the Dead Sea day after day after day after day……

So, delivering these mountain top experiences 100 times each time I come here is a personal blessing beyond my ability to articulate in words.

I want to thank each and every one of you for your support and for living this journey with me.  Those that continue to support this effort financially,  please know that you make these mountain top experiences happen for these kids. YOU are changing their lives forever and giving them a fighting chance.

So, today as I enter my last day of field work, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t  ready to come home. I’m exhausted and I miss my family horribly.

But, at the same time I have been blessed with the opportunity to dwell on the mountain top for 3 straight weeks.  And I will miss it terribly the second I have to say goodbye.