Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Amazing Grace!


Today was a really special day…  If you read yesterday’s post, you know I was really worried that we had hurt our relationship with the community.  I don’t know for certain why eating is so important, but I can make a few guesses…  First of all, it’s Biblical…  In Revelation 3:20, Jesus says if we open the door, He will come in and dine with us…  There’s the Last Supper…  The wedding feast of the Lamb…  Clearly sharing a meal together is important…  But also, in the Swazi culture, they have so little to share…  it truly is the widow’s mite…  And it still breaks my heart that we can’t sit and share a meal with them without risking our health.

I prayed this morning that God would go before us and give them understanding, grace and mercy in their hearts…  And He answered that far beyond what I dreamed or imagined…

When we got up this morning, it was raining…  I mean REALLY raining…  It’s winter here, so it’s the dry season and it hasn’t rained since the beginning of the year…  It just doesn’t rain in the winter and I had no idea what a blessing that rain would turn out to be…

When we arrived at the church, the Pastor came right out to greet us and then the gogos (grandmothers) were not far behind him…  They were warm and welcoming…  Beyond gracious…  And then the Pastor said, “God is blessing what you are doing here…  He has sent the rain.”  It’s as if God affirmed our work there by sending the rain to water the fruit trees, and that seemed to override conflict.

After that, we worshiped and danced together…  This time I was the first one to step out and I went right to M, the one I wrote about the other day, and we started to dance…  I’m learning how sweet it is to love another by stepping into their world…  (I just wish I could figure out the meal thing better…)  And just as I predicted the other day, that Pastor M would have Zack dancing with us, before the week was out, he did!  I can’t tell you what that was like to have my two sons with me, worshipping God in Africa!

Next we went out to the garden, and just like one community, we all pitched in, the Swazis and our team and we started preparing the garden for planting…  I can’t wait till I can post the pictures…  To see the church being one was an amazing blessing!

Because it was raining so hard, we didn’t get as long with them as we would have liked, but it was such a sweet day…  I am still amazed at how far we’ve come in our relationship with them since last year…  they seem to delight in teaching us how to do things and then jumping in and working with us…  the playful banter…  the laughter…  the sweet conversations…  the hugs…  I can hardly stand to think that we only have one more day with them…

Today as I walked outside the church, one of the young men followed me out to talk to me…  He asked me questions about America…  He talked to me about his dreams for his own life…  We talked about our faith…  I was shocked at how long he stood and talked to me…  But something hit me tonight… 

It’s easy to come here and lose sight of the individuals…  to forget that they really aren’t that different…  Yes, they have tremendous struggles and grief in their life…  the know poverty…  hunger…  discomfort in a way that most will never know…  And yet, they deal with so many of the things we deal with in the USA…  and they dream and they hope…  they long for someone to just step into their lives with them for a time and share it with them…

Today Pastor M told us what a difference we had made, just by showing up…  He said that when the people of the community see a white man coming to help, they see Jesus…  That blows my mind…  We didn’t do anything to fix their situation…  When we leave on Thursday, there will still only be 4 men in the community with a job…  there will still be starving, sick children and adults, orphans and AIDS…  it will still be a broken and hurting community…  and yet, according to the Pastor, they have hope because we showed up…

I don’t know why God chooses to use us but He does and for that privilege, I am eternally grateful…  it is a joy like no other!
 
Tomorrow, we’re off to Kubuta, the village mom worked in for 5 days on her first trip to Swaziland, and we get to spend the day with Enoch, our very special friend!  I can hardly stand to think that we just have 2 more days…  I wish I could grab hold of the hands of time and make it slow dow

1 comment:

Lori said...

Oh my gracious. I am in awe of what God has done through you guys there...despite what the enemy intended for division.

God's plans WILL not be thwarted!

I am so blessed by your experience!

Blessings to you!!