Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Not what we expected . . .

Greg J., the resident missionary here, always kicks off our week in the village with an orientation. He talks about the culture, the people and gives us tips on how to relate to the locals. This year he emphasized: "I know you came with a plan, but God is probably going to use you in ways you haven't anticipated. This week probably won't go the way you expected."

He was right. First of all, the weather has been much better than anticipated. I really regret repacking my bag that rainy morning in Fairbanks and leaving several tank tops behind. I could use them! It has been in the 70's every day, which actually feels like the 80's up here. Don't ask me why. I'm brown as a berry--and it's not all dirt! The weather has been glorious.

Secondly, many of the children we've prayed for all year are not in the village this week. Courtney, Josephine, and others are up at Kokrine Hills Bible Camp until tomorrow. For some reason, the camp schedule got switched and the kids we thought we were coming to love on weren't here. Other children we hoped to see have either moved with their families or are out of the village for one reason or another. Only about half the number of children we expected have come to our VBS program. A little disappointing.

Thirdly, the rec hall (our home away from home) is open in the afternoons now. And the teenage boys show up in droves! That is a good thing, but it also makes for some interesting dynamics. We are camped out in their turf, the teen rec is cram-packed with our goodies and gear. I wonder if the kids have eaten a decent meal today. I wonder what they think of our opulence. I wonder if they wish we'd all just go away. There are 5 women and 2 guys on our team this year (we miss you, Brian!), but Jerry can hold his own in a game of pool. So can Tobi, come to think of it! But for us other women-folk, there's really no place to go, to retreat to, when the older kids reclaim their turf. Bonnie drug her cot out into the sunshine outside the rec yesterday and tried to get a few minutes of quiet. I don't think it worked.

So, things aren't what we'd planned for or expected, but God is here and He's moving, none-the-less. We've all had interesting encounters with the locals--there's a receptivity to our presence I've not experienced before. We are praying more, realizing that our best-laid plans crumble to dust without His power behind them. So we wait for Him to do what only He can do--breathe life into dry bones and send His streams of living water to revive this parched land.

Come, Lord Jesus, come!