My hubby Bob is preparing for a trip to Africa with our church...Excitement is increasing as the day nears. The group of 12 will leave April 5th at 6:26 A.M. out of San Diego arriving in Dakar 5:35 A.M.. From Dakar they will travel approximately 3 hours to Senegal where our Church has adopted three Villages.
The 12 of them will enter into an very different way of living from what we here in the U.S are accustomed to. The very remote villages they will be visiting have no running water, if they are lucky enough they have a well....one the team has been told not to drink from as the water is far from treated or purified in any way. Matt, our Church missionary that lives in Senegal has informed the team, a "toilet" will be built for their use while there, noting, it will need to be emptied frequently. Upon hearing this, I suggested maybe Bob should be the one to do so since he has invested all those hours in the gym working on those biceps :-)
Matt made the trip here to prepare the team as to what they will be facing and what the proper protocol is when addressing these people. Matt, at the team meeting at our house suggested some role playing as a great way to learn. Matt played the role of Chief of the village and I was asked to play one of his wives. I was told the women are very submissive which, if you know me required an academy award winning performance! Long story short the team is always to address the chief first then the women can be addressed with the chief's permission initially, yet I'm told they remain fairly quite...again a stretch for me....
I was told by one of the team members that my master bathroom is larger than the huts that these families live in. The floors, well, they are dirt....and seating is limited. As I look around my well furnished home I feel as though I have too much, and I likely do. When I stated how bad I felt for them I was told these villagers live each day as a very joyful people.....I was struck by it. To be that joyful with not so much as an actual floor, running water, or toilet to name a few of the things most of us take for granted? I think I need to rethink why it is so many of us feel we need more, better, the newer version, the latest fad....is that what we think brings us joy? It makes life easier...or does it? To be without and live joyful daily despite having "the stuff"....something is to be said about these people that do not live in the modern, technology filled world.
For me, joy comes from my relationship with God and knowing who I am in Him, and that should truly be enough. I admit I don't always feel that way. I sometimes have the thoughts, if we just had this, or if money weren't an issue, if I just this, or just that..we live in as state of "if only". Logically I know God is enough yet I live in a world that has come to believe that it's through all this stuff we may find our joy. I remind myself daily God is enough and he has a plan for my life that may or may not include any stuff!
These joyful people are Muslim and do not know a God such as mine, yet they live joyfully. These are not Muslim as in praying several times a day, facing a certain direction kinda Muslims we have become familiar with....these Muslim people believe in witchcraft and worship trees! I know how much more joy they would feel if they new the one true God, which is just what our team is hoping for. To get to know these people, form relationships with them, find out how our team can help them...what exactly are their greatest needs such as clean water,medicine,planting crops etc., and ultimately sharing God's love and promises with them.
I know this trip for Bob will be life changing and I can't wait to hear about his experience. It feels good to know we play a small part in assisting these joyful people who otherwise may not receive any form of help.
Bob mentioned he would bring me a souvenir, what I really want is to know the secret they hold that keeps all of the colors of their clothes so vibrant? Have you ever noticed how white the whites are and how bright the fabric of their clothes are? No washer, dryer or Spray and Wash...I am so curious. (But then again I love doing laundry) :-)
Joyfully anticipating all Bob will learn on this adventure and how it will change our lives....
Its a reminder we come from a God who chose us and we are perfect and blameless in His eyes. He wants us to have peace and JOY....fear, confusion and worry are not from Him. Have Joy... This is what echos from my heart today.....