Anyway, all of that is to say that when I went out to Pen-zaan, I really didn’t know what to expect. They had already basically told me that I should write off the rest of the planting season. That is, I was told not to count on getting any other literacy classes going while they are working their tails off in the fields all day long. So I guess that is kind of what I expected - not having a literacy class. Also as rainy season picks up, I wasn’t sure about a spot or two on the road to the village (there are some places where we just can’t get by truck during the rainy season). I thought perhaps I would have to drive just as far as the truck would get me and then hike the rest of the way to the village. I also planned on staying the night. You wouldn’t believe how many little things you have to think of when you’re packing to stay the night in an African village (maybe I’ll dedicate an entire post to this some time).
Anyway, I was, by some miracle, able to get past the really muddy spot that’s on the bend of a wide creek the day after it had rained really hard. I surprised them of course, but as always, they surprised me as well.
First, it always surprises me how, sometimes, the absolutely poorest people in the world show the greatest hospitality. So from the moment I was there, until I went to bed late that night, there was a constant flow of people making sure I had something to drink and that I had the most comfortable chair, etc. Secondly, they surprised me with their motivation to read God’s word.
It’s hard to describe the heat here to Americans back home. Have any of you ever been to Houston, Texas? Do you remember how it gets really hot and humid there during the summer? O.k., if not Houston, just imagine the hottest wettest place you’ve ever been. O.k., next imagine that you have to break up really rocky clay all day long with nothing but a short handled hoe. Then imagine that after you’re done you don’t have even as much as a fan to blow the hot air around on your sweat and maybe cool you off a little, and the most comfortable thing you can find is a somewhat flat bit of tree root you can sit on under a shade tree. Seriously, Dagara furniture makes your lawn furniture feel like a leather sofa. Then imagine that you have to work like this everyday for the next six months, and that if you don’t, you might not have enough food to feed yourself, much less your children the rest of the year. How would you feel about adding ANYTHING to your schedule, least of all studying literacy at night by a flashlight with some foreigner? I’m not sure I would have been among the 40 or so people who came and tried to learn how to read with Kuunbora and me. Not only did we teach a lesson on how to read, but we really studied God’s word. We read and reread the story about Jesus talking with the Samaritan woman at the well until everybody understood where we get our real deep thirst slaked.
|I didn't have the good camera with|
me, so this pic from my cell
is all I can show you from my
night in Pen-zaan
To what do you run when your life gets hard? We all know what we should run to, but I dare you to make a top-10 list of the first things you really go to when your life gets tough (some tv-show or ice cream or facebook or your spouse, etc.). Now look at that list and realize that everything that’s on it that is not God could be an idol. Will you pray for him to remove these from your heart? I’ll do it if you will.