I came to this conclusion over the weekend, and it is important. I am not a volunteer, I am a servant. I am not doing God a favor by being here, by serving Him. I am simply obeying. A servant does not get kudos for doing his job, he does what he is told and that is the end of it. God does not need you.
Life here is very different. I cannot explain it in a blog post, I am not even sure I can explain it at all.
As humans we tend to like to simplify things. So coming here, the idea that life in Africa is slower is an easy one to get your head around. Some things are slower, much slower. It is true that everything moves at a different speed, but it is not uniformly different. Some things actually move faster (including, but not limited to, public transportation).
We finally have a fuel cylinder for our stove. We purchased a stove that is half electric, half gas. This give us the flexibility to cook if we have no gas, or if there is no power. Everyday for about 2 weeks I went to a grocery store on my way home. Each day he assured me they would bring it tomorrow. Eventually, he was right. That is just a little story to set the stage for what I want to say.
When everything changes, your basis for what is normal, and what is acceptable begins to float. It has no anchor. It is going to take a while to even understand what is normal and acceptable here. When I am driving, sometimes I feel like I’ve really angered someone and they do not seem to even notice. Other times I will do something I think is normal and get lots of honks and hands waving.
All of this points to more of the same cultural things that I have been thinking about and what we talked about extensively at ABO. But it is not just about culture, it is about what you think is normal, or acceptable. Much of what we think is not informed by God, but by our experience. Not that all experience is bad, but we need to be careful about how we construct our normal and what we accept.
It boils down to, “What does the Bible really say?” And since that is a very complicated question, it would behoove us all to spend more time figuring it out, and for every context in which we find ourselves.
I know we have not been writing much and you are probably interested in what is going on here. Work for me is pretty busy as I am trying to get up to speed at the hangar as well as starting to plan on how to help missions with IT across other parts of Africa. As you might imagine, this does not leave a lot of down time at the office. We still do not have internet at home, something I am working on, so it makes blogging a bit tough. So I am posting this from my phone.
We are settled into the house, and the boys have started home school. We even had tacos for dinner last Friday. I did not know how much I missed tortillas.
Hopefully more to come soon.
I finished off my first week at work last week and it was an interesting time. I have not been to “work” for over 2 months and it felt nice to sit at a computer and hammer out some things. IT is completely different now. Not only am I in Africa where many things work differently, but I am working for a missions organization where there is no profit motive. That changes everything around. It is going to take me a while to figure it all out, not technically, but spiritually.
We finished off the week by going back up to Harvesters in Karuri where I was priviledged to preach. I guess I am getting more accustomed to being here, I did not even have a watch or a clock and no one commented on how short it was (anything under 75 minutes is considered a short message, especially outside Nairobi). I had been preparing a message, but Saturday night it did not seem to be the right one. So I started with a different one sort of feeling lost, but after worship and hearing from the visitors to the church I knew God had given me the right one.
After church we were able to have lunch with the translator and his wife and the wife of another Pastor who was preaching at Umoja. It was a special time because the house we ate in was partly paid for by the sale of our house in La Mesa over a year ago.