Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Not comfortable right now

I'm warning you this post is going to be whiny. But I regularly remind myself that I don't want this blog to contribute to the unrealistic picture people can have of missionaries. So I'm going to be grouchy and petulant as I write today.
Desperate for a bit of water....
It currently climbs above 100 degrees in the daytime right now. The sun is unrelenting and the dust is downright dangerous at times.  And the nights just don't cool off.  I took a look at the 8 day forecast and 108 is the upcoming average. Without a drop of precipitation on it. My water tanks are all empty. City water pressure is so low that outside my house, my ground tap has a drizzle out of it but there isn't enough pressure to put any water in my storage tanks or into the house. So for the few hours a day that the water is on, the watchman and I monitor and fill jerry cans. It takes us a few hours to fill four. If the water stays on that whole time. Yesterday, as I was heading out to the hospital I reminded the guard to fill up again, once the water came on, and to remind the house girl that there wasn't enough for washing clothes. Well, the water never came on and something got lost in translation so when I got back yesterday the dishes had not been washed and there were three basins of soapy, clothes "soaking" in the bathroom. With no water left to rinse. So she left. And that also means no water for flushing toilets, dishes, or anything else. And I'd just had several frustrating hours at the hospital.  (Which is far from air-conditioned, btw). No water for showering.
I had several phone calls of people wanting things from me in the evening. But I ran out of airtime. This is significant because here people call you, letting the phone ring once or twice then hang up. That is your signal to call them back, using your minutes instead of theirs. But I didn't have minutes left. So people called and hung up over and over again. I just turned my phone off and went to bed. But it was too hot to sleep. And I have a head cold. I'm all stuffed up and can't breath. Over the course of the night I developed a full blown sinus headache and I laid awake all night. Finally at 6:45 when I decided I didn't want to toss and turn on my sweaty sheets anymore I got up and turned my phone on only to discover that my running partner had tried to call and couldn't get a hold of me. But I was out of airtime to call her back.  I did finally talk to her but discovered that she had panicked and called several other people who also needed to be reassured that I was fine.  I had just wanted a few hours with my phone off.
Today is pediatric immunizations
day at the clinic, so even thought I'd had so little sleep, I told myself to buck up and headed out to Obulle. Where the porch (also known as the waiting room) was overflowing with people and crying kids. After an hour of illegible records, screaming kids and working without help (translation or otherwise) from the clinic staff I realized I now had a migraine superimposed on my sinus headache. It was hot, dusty and we didn't have half the supplies we needed so they seemed to just decide they didn't want to work today. Then I stabbed myself with a dirty needle. That sounds slightly worse that it was, but only slightly. John, the other nurse, who was actually out in the village center, not working at all, came in with a friend and pushed through my mess of moms and kids and got his friend a Hep B vaccine. Then tossed the syringe into the trash can, right next to the sharps box. It got stuck in the lining and didn't fall down but I didn't see it until after I threw some stuff in the can and stabbed myself deeply in the side of my hand. I'm not proud of it but I kind of blew a gasket and pointed out to John that "The blasted sharps box is right there! and it would actually be really nice if you would work today as I'm a volunteer and you all are paid staff and there are still forty people waiting to be seen and could someone please translate for me?! And why does this entire blasted clinic not have a place where anyone can wash their hands?!"

Possibly the thing that is pushing me to write about all of this is that this morning during my quiet time I was reading something a fellow missionary had written. I had been sitting here feeling sorry for myself, telling God I just wanted things to be easier sometimes.  That it wasn't too much to ask for just a bit of a more comfortable life. For example running water.  And then I read this:

The more I grow in the Lord the more I think most Christians are not living for God's Kingdom and like Christ.  I am reading through the Gospels again and I am once again struck by Jesus - He and His ways are radical!  In other words crazy.  Christians today, are comfortable, not crazy.  We protect our comfort, safety, family, even things above the will of God.  Jesus said things like, "Do not store up for yourself treasures on earth, do not worry about your life, seek first my kingdom, in everything do to others what you would have them do to you, many will say my name but those who DO my will will enter my Kingdom, anyone who his parents/family more than me is not worthy of me, you have to loose your life to find true life, don't look good and be clean on the outside but inside/who you are needs to be good,  my loved ones are those who do God's will...  Yesterday I read Matt. 13:44-46 the parables of the Hidden Treasure and the Pearl Merchant.  This time it really struck me.  The words, "the Kingdom of God is like..." in each parable is very important.  Jesus said His kingdom is like a treasure hidden and when someone finds it he joyfully sells everything to get the treasure.  Jesus said His kingdom is like a person searching for a precious pearl.  He found it and gave everything to get it.  When we are in Jesus' Kingdom we will joyfully give up or give everything for it!  
I really don't see God's people willing to give everything - their comfort, safety, their home, things, family... - because Jesus is so worth it!  Anything He wants for His kingdom should be worth it - if He is the King of the Kingdom we should always say yes and obey. Christians are too comfortable.  Christ suffered and we are to continue His ministry – of suffering with and for others.  Jesus gave.  He gave up Heaven to come to earth, he gave His time, His heart, feelings, emotions, cried, He gave His love, His power, His wisdom, His blood, His life...  And He was glorified for it.  I think we are missing out on Jesus, His kingdom, and His glory when we want to be comfortable instead.  It is hard and painful, messy and scary when we have to enter someone else problem and pain.  Too many give money to help, say they are praying, care but stay away because it will interrupt our lives, it will cost, it will hurt.  We might not have the answers or what is needed, but we can love, we can be there.  If our goal is to become like Christ, then I want to do, think and feel like He did.  He would go and love at whatever the cost.  

So now, I'm still sitting here feeling sorry for myself, wishing life were more comfortable and also feeling guilty. I do want to be more Christ-like.  But today I'm having a really hard time joyfully giving up everything for it.

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