Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Fully Rely On God

It is hard to believe I am writing about our 13th week in Africa! That means we have served more that one-quarter of our time here (50 weeks). I think I can hear our parents shouting with joy all the way across the ocean… It’s nice to know you haven’t replaced us or anything ; )

Friday evening, Josh had the opportunity to share with the RCM youth group. He shared the “Fruitcake and Ice Cream” DVD. Although there were only maybe a dozen youth there, it went very well (each of the local high schools was holding a sort of pageant, like “Mr. and Miss Rehoboth High School,” and many students were involved in that). The students enjoyed it so much that they asked him to come back when there are more students. He also had the opportunity to speak with a few of the young men regarding the Bible study, and they seemed very interested.

Saturday morning, Josh and Steve once again led their Bible study. Although only one young man showed up, they had a really deep time of fellowship, and they felt it was a successful session. Most of the weekend was pretty low-key, as I was still sick, but Sunday night we were able to talk to my dad’s side of the family when my parents and siblings attended a graduation open house. It was extra-special, because our cousins were visiting from Idaho, and we haven’t seen them since Josh and I got married. We are very sorry to have missed their visit; missing out on spending time with people at home has probably been the most difficult sacrifice for me to make thus far. We know it is necessary, and we do so willingly, but I won’t pretend it’s not excruciating at times. I especially miss the kids that are so special to Josh and I (moms, please hug and kiss them for us!).

The sunset and moon were especially beautiful Sunday night:

No idea why it is turned on it's side. This is Africa, and it even extends to the computers.

By Monday morning, the combi that takes the teachers to Kwakwas (which has been out of service) was repaired, so our ride was a little more luxurious than what it had been last week:

You must remember that 1) since this is the desert, it is quite chilly in the early morning, and 2) we travel on maybe 15 miles of gravel each way to get there.

When I got to my room, I found two of my (freezing!) students curled up in a corner, trying to get warm:

We made pinwheels and cut out paper chains for art, and the kids had a great time. I think they were even more excited, though, to have their picture taken:

How cute are they?

One of the materials for the pinwheels is a pencil, so each of them got their own; they were thrilled. Yes, about a pencil. They continued to play with their toys throughout the day:

This girl is precious.

The kids are spinning in circles, trying to get their pinwheels to twirl

Pure Joy- they are so grateful for so little

We visited the internet café on Monday afternoon, and within 2 minutes of me finishing my post for week 12, we found out we are having visa issues. This is immediately after I wrote:

God is teaching me- both through Josh's example and through circumstances I don't feel comfortable in- how inconsequential pretty much anything in this life is. Yes, even ministry. I am learning that the things I hold to be most important- relationships, conversation, pleasing others, encouraging those around me, achievement, purity, morality, perseverance, actively serving God, spirituality- none of those are so important as growing closer to Him and being in His will. Of course, many times the important objectives may entail the less important factors, but they are not paramount. When something is turning my direction from God, in however minor a fashion, I don't want it anymore. I don't want what is good...I want only The Best.

On Monday, 2 men from NETS (Namibian Evangelical Theological Seminary) traveled from Windhoek to Rehoboth to fulfill a service requirement for their degree. They were a great help to Steven and Josh at the youth center, and on Tuesday night we were blessed to be able to have dinner with them as a team.

School on Tuesday was challenging. The students were very disobedient. I have been considerate of the fact that we do not speak the same language, and been somewhat lenient in terms of them following the rules (many of them just don’t understand), but this was excessive- stabbing each other with pencils, hitting, kicking, choking…I called in the principal, and she disciplined four of the children, which was difficult for me to see (they still use corporal punishment in Namibia). This is such a challenge for me, because it is definitely not what I am used to, but it truly seems to be the only thing that really sends a strong message to the students. I think one reason may be that physical punishment seems to be very common here when it comes to disciplining children. It also seems that, once physical punishment is introduced to the equation, other forms of discipline no longer compare, and are not taken as seriously.

My mission here is not to disrespect a culture, overturn tradition, or act superior towards others; my mission is to share the message of Jesus Christ, to do His will, and to love His children. Generally speaking, when it comes to cultural values I disagree with here, I just try to remind myself that I am an outsider looking in, and that members of this society may have grave concerns about the culture I am from. It is a quandary that I don’t have the answer for…I am just relying on the Holy Spirit for guidance every step of the way.

Another challenge on Tuesday was that I had to deal with my first contact with blood. Approximately 1 in 4 people in Namibia is HIV positive, so one must always assume any blood you are exposed to is infected (learn more from my post on HIV/AIDS in Namibia). On of my students fell while she was running, and cut her knee. I was a tiny cut, but she must have nicked a blood vessel, because it bled profusely. I (carefully) picked her up to carry her to the room with the first aid kit, where I found that there was only one rubber glove, no medical tape, and only small band-aids. I put the glove on my right hand, and my left hand behind my back, and only used it to hold a water jug. It is difficult to bandage someone with one hand. Not only must you avoid blood, you must also avoid anything that may have contacted blood, as well as anything that may have contacted anything that has contacted blood. This is especially challenging with children, because you want to make them feel comforted and nurtured, not despised and dirty. We made it, and Tuesday night I put my own gloves in my backpack.

Josh accompanied Steve to the pre-school on Tuesday, where a little girl apparently has a tremendous crush on him. I can’t wait to meet her; she clearly has good taste : ) Tuesday was also the first day of my Rehoboth High School (RHS) Bible study. You may remember that this is the same group of girls that used to be led by Kristen and Mackenzie. I am so excited to be able to journey with them in their faith!

Thursday was also a bit of a rough day. We had to go to the hospital for an injection after I got hit with a sudden, and very severe, migraine. We were so thankful that this was even an option- that we had access to a hospital, and that they had the medical knowledge and supplies to be able to treat me. Some of the other places we had considered going would likely have not had medical care as advanced, and it was just one more way we have seen God provide for us. He has been so faithful, and we are learning to trust Him more every day.

Prayer Requests:

1) Work visas and permits
2) Health and energy
3) For our Bible studies
4) Our trip to Rundu next week
5) Victory over the enemy’s attacks
6) Friends and family
7) To be salt and light
8) Guidance and wisdom in ministry


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