I’ve been kind of MIA lately. From emails and facebook. From friends and family. It has been a struggle to get my brain to wrap around simple concepts and to do lists. I am straddling two cultures at once. My heart is ACHING and to be honest; sometimes relieved.
ALL. AT. THE. SAME. TIME.
I was evacuated from a country that has become so very special. But that’s not the whole story.
I wasn’t just another visitor. I wore their fabrics, bought their food, spoke their language, treated their wounds. I laughed and cried, got angry, frustrated and confused. I turned down a million marriage proposals, watched amazing sunsets, fetched water from the well, took many bucket showers by candlelight and wanted to strangle roosters at 3AM. I wore a head covering and scarf around my shoulders so that all that was showing was my face any time I left the compound.
I made real relationships. Jabbama, soobajo am! A waali jam na? My greetings. Every morning. With my roommates, househelp, gardeners, language tutor, team leader, co-workers, ladies at the market, friends and anyone else (even strangers) I saw on the road. Time and conversation, I quickly learned, is important and vital to establishing deep, lasting and meaningful relationships. I didn’t have to wait long before a female friend reached out and held my hand in public, a cultural display of affection for a friend in this culture. An invitation to dinner and looking through a stack of yellowed photographs by flashlight, a gift of silver bangle bracelets (a treasured gift from her wedding!) and many others..
I saw real change. Like an HIV positive man test negative, persecuted Christians having abundant and miraculous items provided for them, hearts of stone melted away by prayer and desire to seek the Lord even though it meant risking everything they have. Faithfulness of our Father in providing and protecting the bold and brave ones, few and far between as they were.
I was in much danger. But that’s not the whole story.