Friday, October 25, 2013

You Might Be Adjusting When...

Signs you might just be adjusting to life in Mozambique:

The ability to reuse packaging becomes an important factor in decision buying as in “Oh, I really like the looks of this ketchup bottle.
Nathan's shower guest

You begin to debate names for the lizard that resides under the couch.

You no longer give more than a glance when said lizard decides to exit for a stroll.

The cousin of said lizard is fully accepted as a shower guest by your four year old.

A forecast in the upper 80’s sounds like a cool spell.

Dust becomes an acceptable household accessory. (Dusty chic is really close to shabby chic, right?)

Most of your conversations among a group of women end up being about food- mostly what is available in the shops for a good price this week.

Your children’s legs are almost as much dirt as skin from the knee down at the end of the day.

You no longer wince when your 7 year old (or 4 year old) swings on a rope from 15 feet up in a tree. (You do pray though.)

Cheese becomes a valid addition to the Christmas list.

You question turning the oven or stove on after 9 am because of the heat.

You no longer wake up when a rooster crows (but it is another story when it is four roosters dueling for an hour.)

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Reality of Death and New Life

The wailing broke through the darkness of twilight, stopping me in my tracks and sending chills down my spine.  Peering out the window, I could hear its passing, but could not see its source- most likely a woman walking down the road on the other side of the wall.  My heart broke for this woman, not knowing her circumstances, but knitted into her grief through the intensity of the pain her sounds echoed.  

My hand reached out to touch the window screen, as if to comfort her but for a moment.  I spoke a prayer for her out loud, as my youngest came over, “Mama, I think her baby might have died.” How quickly even the youngest of newcomers has discerned the reality of death in this land.

Simply put, death is a constant reality for the Mozambican people.  Just this week, within our small staff of nationals, four families were marked by five deaths.  Since we have been here, we have known of the deaths of children and adults, young and old.   In this country where average life expectancy is only 50 years old, death is never that far away, forever touching your life, or the lives of those you know.  

But the truth is, death is a reality for all of us.  Last night, we were streaming an episode of Duck Dynasty (which happens to be one of our great de-stressors), in which the parents of the show come to tell their grown son they are dying.  Within a couple of moments, communication is clarified in that this was not a new crisis, just the fact that they, like all of us, are dying.  

No matter how much we want to run from this truth, no matter how much we in the west try to sanitize death, ignore it or think it will never happen to us or our loved ones, death is a reality.  For as I walked around the open coffin of a young 23 year old girl this weekend, as I heard the wailing outside my window, as I think back on another young girl so dear to many that I love, death is not an escapable reality.

And, yet, it is within this un-escapable reality of death that we once again come to the ultimate reality of new life.  

For within this week of many deaths, the hope of new life also arrived in our office- thousands of New Testaments printed in a language that has not known God’s Word before.  Living words, bound in green, that speak of the reality of death, but even more so, the reality of death overcome.  Living words that have the power to bring new life to a people group who taste the tears of death daily.  Living words that shout, “Death is not the end.  Jesus has defeated death.  He is risen!  If you believe, you will rise with Him.”

Yes, death is a reality.  Death is the reality that should inspire urgency in all who claim to love Christ and want to see others know His love.  Death is a reality.  But friend, in the end, let us not forget…no, more than that, let us fervently commit our life’s work to sharing the truth- Death is a reality, but the ultimate reality is that of new life in Christ.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Interminglings Of Fall

As my hand writes out the date, my mind flashes back to the rolling mountains of a particular farm in southwest Virginia.  Visions of fall days so clear that the smell of autumn leaves remains just out of memory's reach.

The mountains dip and roll, reaching to their peaks, descending to their valleys with the fullness of the glory given to them by their Creator.  Trees dressed in bright yellows, deep burgundy and sharp reds dance under an endless blue sky.  Signs of the harvest mark the roadside stands with fields showing the promise of provision fulfilled.  The crispness of the air is full of the intermingling whispers of summer's memories passed and winter’s promised coming.

Today, my hand writes the date, a one solidly in the midst of fall, yet my eyes and mind disagree.  The growing warmth of the days, the green of the trees- this is not my October, nor is this the fall my heart knows and remembers.

In this new season, my heart is yearning for that which it already knows- the crispness of a cool fall morning, the dazzling beauty of the leaves- Yet, this heart of mine is also growing to love what it has just come to know- the cool breeze that brings momentary relief from the thick warmth, the beautiful promise of the mango forming on the branch, the glorious beauty of this new to me land and people.

For just as in my memories of the crisp fall air, this season of life whispers not only of sweet memories passed, but the promise of even more to come. 
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