We celebrated a Seder Meal Monday night, a Jewish custom to celebrate Passover. It was an amazing experience to have for the first time with about 50 Cameroonians from church! Our actual meal was spaghetti, hard-boiled eggs, fried plantains, fresh mango, pineapple and papaya salad and watermelon. Yum! Although the mock ritual was nearly four hours long, it was great! Key to happiness here is – never be in a hurry. (Below – the Seder Meal table)
(View from Pastor Titus’ house where we had the gathering, overlooking Bamenda)
Somebody told me babies are miracles from God. As I watch baby Promise’s face take on shape of a little person, it makes sense. Check out Helping Hands on Facebook for more pictures of Promise! Interesting cultural differences in raising babies: we dress them according to seasonal weather. Cameroonians bundle babies like this is Antarctica. We will let a baby cry if we know they are okay as we get to them. They drop everything to calm the child. We use car seats, strollers, etc. They use material to wrap the baby to the mothers’ bodies or hold them. We potty train with bribery and plastic devices. They let kids run around without pants until they figure it out. Shockingly, babies survive on both continents. (Note baby Joelle’s sweat-er and me sweat-ing. This is Pastor Titus’ baby. The photo is from October, she’s so big now!)
(Miss Promise is a whole new baby in just a couple weeks. Gaining weight steadily! It is a big no-no here to not have her head covered because she will “get cold”!)
A strange awareness I had this past week is, fear dictates our actions. If you think you are an exception, ask yourself why you wear a seat belt, wash your hands, get dressed, talk about beliefs, etc. Ask yourself why you do things throughout the day. You will be surprised how calculated every move you make is.
The point is, I spend a lot of time avoiding things I do not like out of fear or inconvenience. I used to be so wrapped up in preserving my preferences I shut out new, potentially good, experiences. That is a shame because when God created the world, He said it was good. If I had continued acting only out of fear and convenience, I would not be here! So, why do we live in fear? Two reasons: you fear where you go when you die. If so, find a Bible and look up John 3:16. Or, if you are saved and living in fear, you won the battle that begins after you die. Satan frantically wants you to believe God does have time to worry about you because if he interrupts fellowship with God, we will not live in victory. This is going to be a lifelong learning process to weed out selfishness and keep an open mind to the blessing I can trust God has in store for me without succumbing to fear.
Last week was filled with unexpected blessing from experiences, friends and family at home who support me, Jake, Holly and Win Our Nations. God fills me with joy by doing things I lived in fear of before! The more fear I give over to faith in Him (fear about the future or getting baby puke on me) the more He fills me with peace. How appropriate I become aware of this at Easter when we celebrate the Ultimate Sacrifice. Jesus had fear going into the Crucifixion but God got Him through it. Not to mention it was all for us so we could enjoy fellowship with God on earth and Heaven. We were created to be blessed by God! Due to an unfortunate turn of events in Eden, a sacrifice became necessary to enjoy that fellowship and it has been finished! The enemy who is the king of fear, was defeated. If you live in fear of anything big or small, the enemy is stopping you from enjoying all God wants to bless you with. Fear is the opposite of faith. Reclaim the authority God granted you as a believer and challenge your comfort zone! I wrote this all for me. Promise is not a happy camper today and we are all exhausted from the change of lifestyle. Looking forward to getting started on the music class at FBC and spending more time at the Childrens’ Home once Promise graduates from our house!
Some handy references: John 3:16, Ephesians 3:14-19, Philippians 4:6-7, Jeremiah 29:11