I have not blogged in a long time. I have not felt like writing anything. For me, this is strange. But this season in Rwanda is a different one for me and I have used all the energy I have to finally get over the humps and bumps and start to settle into my life here again.
I have changed the ways I am ministering and gotten back to what I have always been called to do - teach. I am at peace now for the first time since I came back in December of 2015. I have a place of my own that is such a blessing! I needed this as someone who is my age just needs to have a home that is a place of rest and peace and one they can nest in.
I have battled to get a new visa and God showed out for me in that! He took care of it day by day and in the process, showed me more of Himself. I can move forward and know I have two years to continue in the work He has laid out for me to be a part of.
I have grown weary and homesick in it all. At times, I have wanted to give up and come back to the only other home I have ever known. I have found the newness and excitement and level of interest have worn off now and few back home seem to have the time to contact or to keep up with what God is doing here as I partner with him. I get it. I have done it myself in the past. Let my busyness take over my life. But for someone in a foreign place, losing home connection can be really hard to process. I even threw some pretty impressive pity parties for myself! I considered coming home and said maybe I can just do some short mission trips to places but live back at home where it is more familiar and easier. But then, as always, God got my attention long enough to speak some words into my self-absorbed brain.
He reminded me that the reason He asked me to come here and set up life is so that I am available HERE. So that I can disciple here in that time it takes to really get to know people and to earn trust and respect and find deeper fellowship. It takes time to see God's plans and purposes be carried out or at least get underway. It takes time for Him to change me and teach me through the people and this culture that He brought me to. I am not their savior. He is. And I need to grow in my knowledge of Him each and every day if I am going to try and show Him to the children and women that I teach here. Living on the mission field means that I am able to develop relationships that just cannot be rushed. I get to know what they need, how they hurt, what I can learn from them, how we can further the kingdom better by being here day in and day out.
Let me use this analogy: I have bought some plants for my new house and they are in pots. I was there the day we planted them. I have been the one to water them and prune the dead off and keep an eye on them. I have been watching to see if they are thriving in the location I have them in or are they getting distressed. I began to notice that my Lantana was not blooming and even becoming dry even though I gave it water every day. So I moved it. It is covered in blooms now. I needed to be there for more than a short view. It did great by my door for three weeks. I liked it by my door and felt like that was the best place for it. But in the next month it was obvious that something was wrong. So I was able to follow up with some new action. A change in plan that has made us both quite happy now.
God has been softly teaching me that it often takes time and watch care to get a desired result. He needs me to be here so that I can be there to guide in my teacher training or to gain the trust of 100+ students so that I can take them to the next level in their faith journey. To be here when one accepts Jesus and does not know what to do next. To keep praying and loving on that woman who cannot find a job to care for her family. To give out the right kind of assistance and at the right time because I have been here long enough to have learned from God, the locals, and culture a better way. To have those layers of Western thinking chipped away at that need to be put to death as they are robbing me of a deeper relationship with my Father. He is showing me that missions to a different culture is not to be rushed and He will sustain me until my purpose for being here is accomplished. Many people ask me how long will you be there? I guess the answer is as long as it takes for God to finish with me.
If I had a loving message to give to anyone that might happen to read this, it is this: even while most churches today are sending mission teams in for short spans of time to get projects done or share Christ with those they meet, it really does take some on the ground folks to stay the long haul and "watch the plants grow" so they can make sure it was not all in vain. And it gets lonely and sad and overwhelming more days than they care to admit. God is our refuge and strength always!! But His people hold our arms up, too. We never get to a point here where we can say to people, okay, ease up. I do not need help or much prayer or contact anymore. Praise God for that so that we can be the body Christ wants us to show to the world - the body that cares for each member. Even the ones thousands of miles away :)