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01 August, 2014

SURPRISED! But not so much.

A book we want to publish one day is a photo essay of things people carry on their motorcycles. Here in East Africa a motorcyle used as public transport is called a boda boda (bode-uh, bode-uh). It never seems to amaze us what can be carried on a boda boda. Just when we think we have seen it all we get surprised.

This past week we were surprised as we drove through a small community near Lake Victoria. We were bouncing along on the rough, narrow dirt road. As we rounded a curve a boda boda came whizzing past us. We looked and looked again. (Well, I did. Jeff was driving.) Sure enough, we were surprised!

Riding behind the driver of the boda boda was a young woman. Draped across her lap and the seat-space between her and the driver were two large and overlapping pigs, heads down, snouts and ears flapping as they bounced along. They were not piglets, nor were they state-fair-sow-with-13-babies-size, but they were big enough to consume all of the space allotted to the young woman and them.

We commented, “Wonder what it feels like to ride this road on a boda boda with a large pig on your lap as you bounce along, each bump met with slamming against another pig.” I still wonder…

Does it feel like being a missionary on home ministry assignment, knowing that in order for you to return to the land where God has led you to join Him in proclaiming His kingdom a volume of money must be pledged and given by folks listening to God speaking into their lives, but the pledges and donations are not forthcoming?

Could it be compared to having your loved one get sick in a land where scary tropical diseases and parasites abound, access to health care is limited and then when you do get them to a health care provider, he says, “Hmm, we need to run some tests. This could be serious.”?

Is it anything like praying without ceasing for one the Lord has laid on your heart and you invest some of your resources to share life with her and point the way to Jesus, then she chooses to disregard God in the choices she makes?

Is it possible it is something like working with government offices in a land not your own, and every time you are asked for more documentation and sent to yet another desk or office the task that seemed so simple in the beginning now feels monumental?

Would one say it is comparable to entering a new service location, knowing for certain God Himself led you there, but your heart gets discouraged amidst the “not knowing” and limited ability to function as you expected and your ideas of ministry seem to fade into the distance while you learn how to greet people, where to get food, how to dispose of your garbage and how to find rest in the new environment?

How it compares to living out the gospel among people who perceive they are too poor to make any difference, and everything that is said or done to empower them to bring positive change is met with requests for funding or provisions?

Now that I think about it, maybe we shouldn’t have been surprised by what we saw on that boda boda. I guess it wasn’t so unfamiliar after all. It seems we have already seen it… in the mirror, in Scripture, in our co-laborers. And it is doable. Not so bad, once you get used to it, especially when the driver is our God.



joy said...

So very, very true. Thanks for sharing!