*This was written last night* God is good. ALL the TIME. I don't think 10 blog posts could do justice to my past week. God has been faithfully stretching me and growing me here -- on my own turf -- in the past few days! From hearing His voice last week talking to my heart about waiting, to Evan finishing his bone marrow transplant and being, quite possibly, the fastest person to engraft that the Dr's have yet to see! From God answering my prayer for guidance on how to get plugged in at my church with "I'll make it obvious on Saturday" to Sun Valley having a kick off for their new prayer team on Saturday(an announcement was made and I immediately sought out the leader and am going to be able to participate!!! Prayer is my favorite.). From getting the nurse extern position (I start on the 28th) that 200 people applied for, to seeing God answer 10 months of prayer in fasting in this evening, God has been so faithful in my life and my heart is just so full. Know that He accepts you just as you are and that He craves your love. Do you know Him? Is He your portion?
Tuesday May 25th ~ Day and NIGHT in Chikudzulire (first white people to ever stay the night).
This blog post has haunted me the past 5 days, merely because I know how much there is to say about this day and night! Here I go...
Tuesday started out with tasty food (I'm all for eggs, bacon and toast) and morning devotions with the team. One of my favorite devotions that I had heard was on waiting upon the Lord. Keta, the right hand gal at Somebody Cares, spoke a word that had been probing her heart and her words RANG with truth and excitement. She talked about positioning yourself to wait upon God. The analogy she offered was that of playing ball. In order to catch a ball, you must hold your hands out, be expectant and take a supportive stance (plant your feet). She compared this to waiting for God. If there is something in your life that HE is asking you to wait for, are you expectant for its arrival in your life? Are you preparing yourself to receive it? Are you bracing yourself in prayer and petition for its approach? She then challenged us... If, we know that God is a good God, why is it that so many times we check out of the game, throw in the towel and refuse to wait? Why then do we doubt God's timing, see Him unfit to orchestrate our life and take matters into our own hands? How many times have you forfeited waiting upon the Lord (be it for impatience or really anything for that matter)? How many times have I? Her challenge to us was this: prayerfully ask God if you can rejoin the game. Take your position on the field and be committed to sticking it out, persevere and WAIT. With quite certainty, I will tell you that the wait WILL be well worth it!
(The view from the Community Center)
Moving on, after devotions, we loaded into the van for a long day and night! We arrived in the village and it was buzzing with excitement! We were greeted by the typical welcoming committee and a new addition of 30+ youth. Somebody Cares had taken it upon themselves to bus in youth from other villages -- all to have a sleepover with the Azungus (white people)! Our sleep over was likely the equivalent of a church "lockdown" -- so fun! After singing and dancing for quite a while, the 3 girls on our team began setting up for the vision clinic. Jeff then began working through the line of people and we then would find the perfect pair of glasses for them. By now, we had done 6 vision clinics, and seen over 600 people! This was our last day for vision and Jeff managed to see everyone in line (that was always a plus)! Around 3, the youth coordinator for Somebody Cares, Edward, in junction with the youth coordinator for the village, Ezekiel, summoned us for lunch! I was the first one in the room (I never pass up an opportunity to eat ;) and quickly learned the rules... there was enough food on each plate for 2 people, and there couldn't be 2 Azungus per plate! I then went and introduced myself to the girls in the village and asked one, Dorris, to be my meal partner. We ended up eating 4 meals together total.
(Dorris -- my meal partner -- and I!)
Now you have to understand that Nursing School has kind of spoiled my view of germs. I wouldn't consider myself to be a germ-a-phob, I still believe in the 5 second rule... but when it comes to washing your hands, contamination and wiping everything down with alcohol pads, well I fell right at home! So, eating with a partner, quickly became a challenge for me to overcome. Prior to meals, everyone gets a small amount of water poured over their hands (and let's be honest... just to have clean water to WASH your hands there is a luxury!). Knowing what I do from school, fecal matter and urine (I'm just getting started...) don't rinse off with just water. To have clean hands, one has to wash them with soap! Have I mentioned that there are no such things as utensils? So, with dirty (mine weren't -- thank you hand sanitizer) fingers as forks, my partner and I began touching an entire plate full of food (2 really, if you count the nSima) and placing it in our mouths. The only thing I could think of was Cholera -- the route with which you get this nasty disease is fecal-oral transmission!
(Kelly and Steve's meal partner Loveness ~ great dancer too might I add ;)
After the meal was over, Dorris excused me (this is a custom in which the host of the meal -- in this case any non Azungu partner -- gets the authority to tell you when you may be finished... some even told you how much you had to eat before you could be done!). I definitely lucked out with my partner. I didn't have to eat the entire plate full of food, and I was able to save my leftovers for some of the younger kids in the village -- win, win!
(Kelsey and her meal partner Ezekiel)
After dinner (5 pm), we began the festivities. We danced, we SANG and we prayer until 11 pm that night. Oh, and add to that a fun and competitive game of Bible trivia and going on a hunt for black mambas. I took a break from the crowd and went with a few men "down to the river." I had mentioned to them that I wanted to see a black mamba, and their response was "if you'll find one anywhere, it would be on that path." So naturally, I wanted to tag along! Half way down to the river, I realized that there really was no such thing as a "path", rather, we just ran through fields (the brush was literally up to my armpits and I COULDN'T SEE MY FEET!) creating our own openings. It was then that I said "guys, I don't think this was such a good idea!" They all began to laugh and said "duh!" haha! Luckly we didn't stumble upon one (I very much want to see one, but after that I decided that I'd rather be in the car driving by one than running and hunting for one!).
(Our lovely little room... I took the spot in the corner without the cushing -ha- of a bamboo mat!)
Another plus to the night was seeing God in the elements. When we began praying around 5, it was bright and sunny. As our worship continued, a dark cloud came over the community center and began pouring rain! It reminded me of the Old Testament -- where God led his people the Israelites by a pillar of cloud during the day, and a pillar of fire during the night. Another way in which I saw the faithfulness of God was when a family of bats flew into the community center (think of it as a VERY large ramada where we held all of our meetings and get togethers) and stayed there... eating mosquitoes! It was an answer to an earlier prayer -- a prayer of protection against malaria during the night. How great is our God?
(All the single ladies)
The night ended with a "snack"... aka a full meal. And we then segregated into 2 rooms. All of the ladies piled into a tiny room and crashed on the concrete floors... not before Loveness showed my how "real Malawian women dance" and removed her clothes. The girls wanted us to go streaking with them, but being in a room full of windows AND having the guys' room (full of windows too might I add) right next door, I settled onto the floor and pretended I was asleep. And sleep couldn't come fast enough.
(Even though we never found a Black Mamba, we DID find a millipede!!)