Being here I am more aware and thankful of things I take for granted: good health, literacy, musical literacy, or dependable resources. I am battling an ailment manifesting with waves of intense fevers, chills, aches and numbness in my fingers and toes. When I got here I fought the flu. It seems once I become helpful I am immediately out of commission. During a study on Job with great missionary gals in the area, pain set in. I have rarely been laid up due to health issues. They pass quickly or treatment is readily available. I am fine but frustrated. I reference a memory verse from before I got sick – Romans 5:1-10 (3 …we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance and endurance produces character and character produces hope and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us). I am reminded to continuously pray for friends and family facing health challenges which bind them in despair and pain. Our God is greater!
Last week I helped with after-school studies at the HHCH. It is challenging for bright children to read here. It is common in the education system to copy work so they have it memorized but have no clue of practical implications. To defend the education system, teachers are at a ratio of 1:60 or 1:100. Not good odds for effective teaching or monitoring. I praise God for my education. I wish I could tell six-year-old Bethann to pay attention so I could help others someday! That would have gone swiftly in one ear and out the other. Regardless, we have a blast and plan to take advantage of the time together!
Something else I assumed everyone can do is read music. We are blessed to have the option to learn music in most schools! Music was a large part of my life until five days into college when I dropped my music major. Those skills went by the wayside until now. I begin teaching an introductory music course at Faith Bible College in April! I have some brushing up to do but am overjoyed to share what little knowledge I have with people who rarely get the opportunity to learn to read music. FBC students will learn basics on reading music, key signatures, and how to sing in four-part harmony. Imagine leading worship and having no idea what key or meter the song you want to sing is in. Well, they do it all the time in church services so not knowing does not hinder worship! There is always music, singing and dancing everywhere here! God knows the position of our heart when we worship him BUT sometimes it is nice to know what key it is in.
Finally, things I realize I should be thankful for at home:
1. Safe drinking water out of the tap (We have filtered water but sometimes there is miscommunication on which is safe to drink.)
2. Electricity that stays on (Power cuts out sporadically, sometimes for hours or even days.)
3. Not having sewer worms come up through drains or toilets (An unpleasant surprise in the middle of the night.)
4. Speaking the same language and dialect as those around me (Think you are a good communicator? Relocate to a new country.)
If you are breathing, you are blessed immeasurably. Being here I see how many ways Satan entangles us in distraction so we do not realize our blessings. He keeps us so busy we fail to share the salvation message with others. Believers keep so busy we fail to enjoy being in saved in Christ! Maybe I am only speaking to myself because I am learning that lesson. It is easy to turn mission work into plain busy work if the focus is on anything but the Lord. And work is not in short supply here! Butchering another hog tomorrow! At least this one will not be warm when we mix the meat for sausage.
Thank you for prayers and emails. Keep ’em coming!
(Miss Sandrine added getting new braces to praises during prayer time at Kids’ Club. She is excited to get fitted for them! It was incredible to watch the other kids help her put these on. They are cumbersome.)
(A picture from the car while driving in the city which does not do it justice. So many houses right next to each other!)