Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Gifts from God

I feel as if God has just handed us a gift, an incredible gift that we in no way could have come up with ourselves.
Just yesterday, we were praying at our staff meeting about needing new places to practice speaking Zulu. Personally, this has been a big hurdle for me. It's completely out of my comfort zone to join complete strangers in conversation (and conversation on a 2 year old's level none the less) in pursuit of language learning. I can break out in a cold sweat knowing that it is my turn to start talking! Previously, the places we would go to practice our Zulu provided more listening opportunities than speaking. In the beginning this is perfect, but now we have some understanding and need to move forward. . . .
Well, today we were out with a Hospice nurse visiting a group of HIV + patients who were gathering for teaching and the distribution of their medication. Doreen was going to be late, but Kyle had gotten permission to go out anyways. We had hopes of being able to just chat! About 9 people showed up and sat waiting for Doreen to arrive. Kyle began chatting with a young man sitting next to us, but I knew that I needed to pick up my chair and move over to the women. I mustered up the courage and sat down behind two ladies in the back. They instantly turned around and smiled. The reminded me that we had met earlier during a house meeting with hospice. What followed was incredible; 45 minutes of basic Zulu conversation with more women joining our group as we laughed and stumbled along! The ladies spoke slowly for me, repeating when necessary and really working to keep their conversation simple. It was just the encouragement that I needed!
When Doreen finally arrived and saw that we were quite comfortable chatting with her patients, she extended the invitation to come every Tuesday! Then another nurse from a different area invited us to come to her teaching time in Wednesdays. They both thought the adult Day Care time would provide a great place to work on basic conversation. We agreed!
Our hearts were so encouraged. Yesterday, we laid the request at God's feet for more practice speaking and didn't even know where to begin looking. God had it already worked out!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Dose of reality

A righteous anger? I'm still learning what that means; to be so angry at sin and the people involved in it, yet broken over their lostness and separation from God.
Today we went out with a community health leader into the deep rural. It was a learning experience! The roads were two track, deep rooted and water filled. The homes were either mud shacks or the traditional round huts.
As we were driving, the community health worker that we had picked up was explaining a horrible new dilemma. The rape rate had escalated in the last couple months! Grandmas, moms, babies being raped by boys, men and grandfathers. Mobile health clinics had to stop going out to care for people because people were high jacking the vehicles and raping the nurses.
You could see the pain on her face as we passed homes and she described their personal horror. Our hearts were hurting as we processed this reality. The people have so many needs, especially to hear Christ's healing message, yet because of the current situation our hands are tied in so many ways. We pray that God will help us creatively reach these hurting people!
In the picture above, we were out with some community leaders from Amangwe village distributing food and checking up.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Out visiting

We are constantly in awe of the doors God continues to open! Today, we went out with Hospice. It was such a time of learning. The nurse, Doreen, has an incredible desire for people to hear about Christ Our first visit was short. The lady was HIV+ and suffering from shingles. She didn't feel like talking much- completely understandable. The second home was disappointing, but a learning experience none the less. Doreen was trying to check up on three sisters; 9, 12, and 19 years old, but they weren't home. She explained a little about the situation there. The sisters were all in full blown AIDS and probably would not live much longer. Doreen pointed to an over grown area of grass and said that they had recently buried 5 family members . . . and soon the girls would be gone too! It is such a harsh reality. Death surrounds everything and touches everything. The last stop was a wonderful experience. We parked the car at the end of the road (literally where the road ends) and walked past tiny shacks all lined up. Because it was raining, Doreen had us meet with two different families (10 of us total) in one of the little homes (10x10 ft). At first the people were very guarded. They didn't really look at us and spoke softly towards the ground. But, Doreen spent some time explaining who we were and that we really wanted to learn Zulu. Then came our chance to talk. All it took was for them to hear our honest attempts at their language and begin to laugh at our mistakes and the barriers seemed to melt away! The people began explaining when they were first diagnosed with HIV, how their health has been and how Hospice has helped. As conversation slowed down, Doreen explained to them that Kyle was a Pastor who taught the REAL Word of God and that he would like to pray for them. One of the men who had been chatting with us quite a bit gave a little speech. Doreen translated saying that he was glad we had come and happy to hear the REAL Word of God. The emphasis was on the "real". Our hearts yearned to open scripture right then and start teaching, explaining God's good news! We left that little broken shack with a deep excitement for the way God would one day move. We see how He is preparing hearts to hear His Word, even granting them an eagerness for it! Maybe one day we can return to that home speaking their language and begin teaching the Bible! It is hard to be patient while learning Zulu! It is hard to wait for God's perfect time for His Word to be revealed.