Unplugging to get connected - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Commentary

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Unplugging to get connected

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Posted: Tuesday, September 22, 2009 11:00 pm

In a world of nearly seven billion people it seems it would be easy to become isolated, feel alone or get lost. But thanks to Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and other such sites the world is more connected than ever.

You can have hundreds of friends; you can video chat with someone in another hemisphere; you can even follow a celebrity’s daily activities. Technology has synced, linked and uploaded us into a future where anyone can be reached with the touch of a button.

My Blackberry has several tones notifying me of an e-mail, text or incoming call. I even know who’s calling by the sound of the ring.

I am instantly connected to them, right? What does connected really mean? Webster defines connected as being joined or linked, wired together or plugged in, all terms that would be quite fitting if we were just talking about technology.

Recently I went to Rocky Point, Mexico, on a weekend mission trip. My expectations were few, I honestly just was happy to experience someplace new and different. My Blackberry, my technology “connection” to the world, stayed home.

On Friday evening of the trip I met three young local girls and their mother. They accompanied a small group of us as we visited with some of her neighbors. The littlest girl, just four years of age, began to wail in fear as a dog barked ferociously and closed in on her. A fence separated the two of them, but it was obvious that she was scared from a prior canine experience. There was a language barrier between she and I, but the tears that fell down her face were universal and I swooped her up into my arms. She dived into my shoulder seeking refuge. Later we continued our walk around her neighborhood hand-in-hand, sharing smiles and laughter. Just an hour before we were strangers from two different countries, but our shared encounter had connected us now as friends.

The next day along with a medical team I visited two courageous women, each battling a serious disease. Each woman graciously opened their home to us and shared the story imprinted on their heart as result of living with the disease. Again the language barrier held little resistance to the emotions and body language pouring from them. The struggles that they had endured and continued to fight daily were humbling. One woman spoke of her life as a race. Perhaps she was speaking of the race against time or the nearing of the finish line. I think she was speaking of the energy and strength necessary to take on the day ahead as she struck me as a marathon runner not a sprinter.

After the weekend mission trip came to an end I was left wondering, do relationships grow from being joined and linked together with words or by shared experiences? I tend to favor the latter. So I gave Webster another try at giving meaning to the term “connected.” With eyes and heart more open I found a human connection worth living by, to establish a rapport. A true rapport cannot be created through an e-mail or updating your wall. It is formed through sharing the human experience with one another.

If you are interested in learning more about “getting connected” please visit www.weekendmissions.com to learn of upcoming trips. Weekend Missions is a nonprofit organization out of Phoenix that takes individuals looking to serve others on a short term mission experience to Rocky Point, Mexico. Volunteers do not need to have a trade or specific skill to join, just a serving heart.

Director of Weekend Missions, Mark Lastovica sums up the experience best: “It is leaving daily life behind, and concentrating on letting God direct your time and thoughts as you help those most in need. No hard and fast deadlines or designated schedules to observe.”


Kandice Kohler lives in Ahwatukee Foothills and attends Mountain Park Community Church and volunteers with New Global Citizens, a nonprofit organization in Phoenix that aims to educate and mobilize youth to address the greatest challenges facing communities around the world today.

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