11 May 2009

Guinea - Part 2

Missions has excited me since I became a Christian my senior year at Lakers. As the flame in my heart slowly grew smaller, so did that desire. If I was to do missions, it would probably be to Eastern Europe, somewhere cold. Not to Africa. It's hot there, and there are snakes. Neither of which do I do well with. Then God's calling came for Guinea. Peace came at just the right time when we had to decide whether or not to go. We would go. And now we are here. We cannot go back. Too far away to run to safety. God pries at my heart. It hurts. What really is safe...where is my security? "In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety." Psalm 4:8

The first week is so hard. I cry over our son's safety. An image of a black snake terrifies me. Can I trust God to protect our family? Can I trust Him still if He allows Abraham to be killed by a snake. Life is hard here. Hard. In our weakness He is strong. I talk with Mom American. She shares with me how Satan uses fear to paralyze us. Yes, that's what I feel - paralyzed. I continue to pray and seek God. Each day, each walk outside, each night, I pray, laying our family at his feet. I realize more and more clearly, Jesus alone is security. We meet a missions evaluator, visiting from the States. She and her husband raised their 2 daughters until their teens in Guinea and then moved back to the States. A year later one daughter and her husband were killed in a car accident. Is it safe? We are safe in Christ, wherever we are, and only in Him are we secure. Is life in Guinea hard, yes. Is God's goodness evident. Yes. He is so good. He is so able to keep us wherever He calls us, and as Helen Roseveare said, "it is a privilege to suffer."

We awaken each morning to roosters crowing. There is no electricity here. We brush our teeth with filtered water and carefully choose the day's clothes. After being washed by hand and dried on a line, clothes must sit 3 days before being worn. The Americans learned the hard way about the little mango worm eggs present in clothes worn too soon. We eat a homemade breakfast of muffins cooked in a kerosene stove. Milk powder is added to everything for nourishment as dairy products are a rare luxury here, so unlike our Michigan home! Dishes are piled up in tubs and taken outside to be rinsed, washed in water - warmed by the sun in a black jug, bleached, then dried on a rack. Caution is taken...our hearts ache as we hear of the sickness these dear families have suffered...

The children begin school. Fresh fruits and vegetables are chopped for lunch and dinner. A papaya is picked from the yard...the orange and banana ladies might stop by with heavy loads balanced on their heads, babies on backs. Meat is thawed from the solar freezer. Beans are soaked to be cooked in a pressure cooker. Bread is kneaded and set to raise. Our hands labor, Abraham sorts oranges, the pace is demanding yet peaceful. Mom American chats with O., the woman who helps her around the house. She arranges family to help with our laundry while here. A huge blessing to us.

Jonathan helps American Dad with mechanical things around the house and yard and they are off...traveling 20 miles in 2 hours, driving through a 4 foot deep river to greet new leadership. Respect for authority is hugely important here. "Greeting" is taken seriously before entering an area to share Scripture. They have spent different days doing such and other days and nights praying on top of mountains. High places are real here. Jonathan feels as though he's living in the Old Testament days at times. The darkness is heavy for our men especially as they pray and praise Jesus in places His name has not been proclaimed before.

One final post, part 3, to follow soon...

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