Friday, June 22, 2007

On patience and frustration.

You know we come here, hoping to change the world. We all have a vision and a plan and hopes and dreams. And seeing as I am an American I get impatient, not that all Americans are impatient, but we are pretty good at getting what we want when we want it.

I arrived here, 15 months ago. I knew my first year would be slow, I had expectations placed upon me. The first, to learn the language. The second, to learn the culture. The third, to finish the training courses that CMF set up for me to do when I got here. I had things to do, tasks to complete, a proficiency to reach, so I stayed busy. Add that to taking over the office duties when all team members had to leave last fall, I stayed very busy.

I January, 3 months earlier than we anticipated, I was released. I was told I could start working "officially." But that I had research to complete, and remember, do not rush, as to establish a good program takes time. I was cautioned, research will take longer than you think. Don't get impatient. Walk and pray, talk and pray, walk again and pray again, talk again and pray again. These are great things, but there is this part of me on the inside that screams, "I just want to DO something!" I came here with vision. I came here with plans. I want to get it started.

Katie and I have continued prayer walking, which I know IS doing something, but I really want to get down to establishing a CHE program, I want to start teaching and equipping Tanzanians to transform their own impoverished communities. The other day we were in completely new territory. It shocks me, that this area is so big. It amazes me that we can walk for hours and hours and find a new part of the slum. A girl started walking along side us, and eventually asked what we were doing, and invited us to her home to meet her family. Katie and I get offers all the time, sometimes we accept, sometimes we defer to another day. Today we felt like accepting. It was going well. We met her dad on the road, he seemed glad to meet us. We met grandma and grandpa and really it was a very typical living situation. We get inside and she starts in. So, I need you to give me money for school. I explain to her that my role here isn't to pay for her to go to school. She asks what I do, I explain and she says, you should talk to my mom, she is part of a group of women who want to work together to better our life. (SWEET!)

We set up a time to come back. She then sets in again. So, I don't have food for lunch (mind you I noticed the garden with ripe veggies and fruits and the staples of the tanzanian diet outside.) I tell her I didn't bring any money, which I did so in essence I lied to her which was difficult. But I didn't have money for her. I had about $10 but I had already committed to using it on another family that we would see. She looked at me in disbelief...almost disgust. We confirm our plans for today, to meet her and her mom and talk about CHE. Again, on the way out she says so how much money are you going to bring us on Friday? I wanted to scream, I am not a walking dollar sign, but I explained again, that I am not in the habit of handing out money. I had on the inside though resolved to do what is appropriate for home visits on friday. On the way back to the main road as she walked with us, she laid in again. I had about had it. I get asked all the time, but not so persisitently. It grieved my heart, that this girl thinks the only thing I can offer is money. Because really, I like to think I have more to offer than financial gain.

So today, Katie and I, begrugingly (because we were so annoyed from wednesday) head out to our appointment. We ask for God's grace, and beg of His mercy in whatever form it might be. We finally confess that on the inside we are hoping that we will get stood up. I feel like a jerk. Either way we will continue to walk and pray. So it happens, we get stood up, and we leave the car and start walking and yet again, discover new territory, and make new friends and talk and share.

Today was a different experience. We met some mama's and shared some time talking about life with them. They didn't ask a thing. They were thankful just for the relationship. We met some kids and exchanged some swahili slang and laughed as they giggled behind our backs. We found a new church and talked to a worker there and made plans to come back and meet the pastor. Again, they were like most, they were about the relationship. We met mamas with babies on their backs. We met kids playing with a deflated ball in the alley. We caught a greater glimpse of the vision and also caught a more definate view of an area God probably wants to bless. We found a hill in the middle of it all. We have been on this hill a few times in the last few weeks, each time we made it to the hill, it was by a different route, but we seem to keep ending up there, and each time we think, wow, we should come back there again.

As we walked up from this new path we were on, it dawned on me, A city on a hill cannot be hidden. And I mentioned it to Katie, and we both thought the same thing, and smiled. This is it. This is where we narrow our focus. This is part of the grand vision we have received, God has spoken to us both in the last several months on all of our walks. And today we felt him say, this is where I am leading you.

So I started this blog very frustrated. Very annoyed, but yet again, God speaks and encourages and motivates us to press on.

As for us pressing on. Katie leaves a week from today. She heads back to Colorado Springs after spending several months with us. She has been a HUGE help and blessing to me. She is an encourager, a friend, a sister in many ways, and her void will be HUGE! Pray that God will provide another who will so eager and willing to grasp the vision, so willing to walk in mud-guck, so patient and also so able to crack a joke. She will be dearly missed. I feel like she has been a partner in this adventure, almost every prayer walk I have been on, she has been there, and most times, she was the only one, and if she had not been there, I would not have been able to go. She has been a joy. Did I say she will be missed? Pray for her. Pray for us. Pray for Unga. Pray that I wouldn't get so frustrated and impatient as I wait on the Lord's leading.

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