Wednesday, September 17, 2014


I had this crazy clash of two worlds as I put my baby down for a nap just now.  All swaddled and fresh, I walked him across the quiet, clean living room to lay him in his fancy battery operated swing (the one his brother and sister hated and refused to hang out in…much to the sadness of their momma’s tired arms). And in that moment, a scene flashed in my head. 
Told you Little t hated the swing! ;)
 Sitting in a stuffy room full of women who could really use a bath. The air hangs lazily and flies meander through it.  Outside, the constant chatter of children and conversation of animals provide a hum of background noise.  In the distance I hear someone being scolded and the slop of water as someone else washes laundry.  I lay my sleeping baby in a wooden swing contraption that is suspended from the ceiling.  The rope off the side is handed to a grandma who is in charge of gently pulling it so the swing sways back and forth.  Grandma will get tired after a few minutes and switch the rope to her other hand. Depending on how long the babe sleeps, she may even have to resort to the rope between her toes. I will sit on cushions and sip tea with these ladies as we talk the afternoon away.  Other ladies from the village will come and go, kids tumble in and out the door and are scolded for not playing outside quietly.  My own kids will be pulling me in different directions.  Little t will be begging to go outside and play with the sheep and village boys. Z girl will have a death grip on my leg and plead with me to not even think of leaving her sight. 

Breaking the fast with local workers
 I keep an eye on my watch because timing is of the essence.  We have to be on the road in time to make it home before nightfall. Everyone knows you don’t travel these roads when dusk hits.  But more importantly, I need to begin making out exit before the preparations for supper begin. The preparations begin long before the invitations. If you wait to be invited, you have usually waited too long.  And in a village like this, when people go out of their way to prepare a meal for you…much nicer than what they would normally eat on any given day, you kind of need to honor them.  And much like the book, “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” if you stay long enough for the preparations and the invitations and the eating of supper, you will definitely be working your way towards spending the night….because remember the road thing?  And also, it is just rude to leave that late.  But really, as much as I love time in the village and spending nights in the village, the thought of doing it with three children terrifies me.  I know they won’t sleep and will run around like crazy people. I know we will then have to do breakfast and most likely lunch the next day…and I don’t have the gumption for that as a momma of three living in this foreign land.  So all that to say, I plan my goodbyes early.

Back in my clean living room, I am suddenly choked up as I lay my baby in his fancy American swing.  Because as much work as going to the village is with my little people,  as much as we come home dirty and tired and stressed about potential fleas and diarrhea, we love it. But here, as I open my refrigerator to quickly find good food, as I freely take walks and let my kids play at the playground, as I soak in chu.rch and time with family, I find myself loving that too.  I find myself relishing in the life we are living right now. I am utterly enjoying not constantly taking tabs on security, not always checking that things are quiet, not going through the 10 extra steps that it takes to make life happen in that culture as a foreigner and a woman.  Once again my heart breaks and I find myself tired from the struggle of knowing which way to lean. 

On a shopping outing to the local Wal-Mart. It is busy and chaotic and a lot of work, but I LOVE shopping here!
 We honestly don’t know what the days ahead hold for us.  We don’t know where we will end up or which swing our baby will nap in.  It is something we think about and talk about and pray about constantly.  Our hearts are torn. 

We do know that God is calling us to embrace this time and place. Like I said, we are relishing in the joys of life here right now; time with our kids, time with family and friends, time to grow and learn and rest.  The last year has not been easy for us and we find God calling us to rest in Him and soak in His goodness in this place (not really in the physical sense because we have three crazy tiny people running around our house…so physical rest is kind of a joke).  So, we are committed to doing that and allowing Him to work and speak about what is next in His timing. 

Are kids are loving the ease and freedom of life here in the States. And we are finding so much join in when thriving here. This photo is actually in Paris...pretty sure I could thrive there too!
 These verses in Romans 12 have been a good challenge for us in these days:
“Love from the center of who you are; don’t fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply, practice playing second fiddle. Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don’t quit in hard times, pray all the harder.  Help needy Christians; be inventive in hospitality.

Bless your enemies, no cursing under your breath. Laugh with your happy friends when they are happy, share tears when they are down. Get along with each other; don’t be stuck up. Make friends with nobodies, don’t be the great somebody. Don’t hit back; discover beauty in everyone.”

We feel that learning how to better live out these verses is what we are to be about in these days.  So while we drink good coffee and play on playgrounds while soaking in the fall weather, while we dream about and long for that beautiful and crazy land we love, we will do just that.
The view out of our gate in made nights of 40 below worth it!

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