This afternoon I took some time to climb up the rock face and sit at the top of the cliffs behind Mahadaga. I wrote this while up there.
My first thought as I reach the top and sit down is "God, thank you for giving me arms and legs to do this". I can also thank Him for placing me in a town with cliffs such as these, and for cool weather on my afternoon off, so I can actually exhert myself.
West Africa is a magnificent place. Just being here creates a more thankful spirit. A glass of cool water can be life giving, to say nothing of the magic bubbling from a bottle of Cocoa-Cola! The value and impact of a smile is not fully realized until used to jump a manguage hurdle. The sweet melody of a laugh is not recognized until it is the only utterance you recognize. One's mother tongue is not comforting until it is scarcely heard.
To be honest, I expected more of an emotional reaction to the differences in culture. But to be sure, my heart beats strongly for the moments of similarity. Having dinner with the Combari family last week, I was able to hear, through double interpretation, their testemony. They shared in their language of God's work, and their daughter interpreted into French; and Christine interpreted into English. I almost wept with joy as it dawned on me that in all the cultural and linguistic differences, they love the same God as I do.
On a slightly different note:
I've been reading through Psalms, accompanied nicely by "My Utmost for His Highest". It's neat how profoundly the Holy Spirit can speak through the simple- when we do not demand the complex. The two books make a great pair for my work out here. In Psalms, I am shown how to pray for these people. (ex. Psalms 79:9-11) In Chamber's book, I am learning how to serve them. (ex. "Never reserve anything. Pour out the best you have, and always be poor. Never be diplomatic about the treasure God gives. This is poverty triumphant.")
Regardless of how I failed or Christ succeeded the day before, each morning I am able by grace to begin again with prayer and love. God hasn't called me here to bring some innovative resource or to do a great, culture-changing work. He has called me to serve Him from and in Mahadaga. Although my tendancy is to yearn for a glistening job description, I am learning to follow Christ and love His people. I do that just one day at a time, by His grace.
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