Friday, October 19, 2007

Panic, frustration and God

This week started in pure frustration and panic over the thought of going to Cashbuild, Swaziland’s version of Home Depot, to order building materials for the repair work at Lomngeletjane and then to hire the driver of a green truck to “transport” them to the school site. Oh yes. I was really outside my comfort zone on this one and a bit testy at the thought of it. How in the world was I going to find a guy with a green pickup that I knew wouldn’t be able to speak English and get this done? To make matters worse, when Siphiwe, my trusty pastor’s assistant who often accompanies me, and I pull up to Cashbuild there is a blue-green truck of a fair size and a pure green truck that is an old, small Hi-Lux Toyota pick-up. As usual, God took pity on me and the person who asked me to do this task happened to be there to tell the driver to keep an eye out for me. It took an hour for them to pull the materials together – 18 corrugated iron sheets 4.2 meters long, 18 “beams” some 6 meters long, some 4.2 meters long, 8 bags of cement, plastic and wire for the inside walls and nails. Not a lot. But remember, this is Africa. I know the guy couldn’t have moved any slower. I wanted to grab a cart and go get the stuff myself, but of course that isn’t acceptable – especially for a woman to do that. And yes, you guessed it. All of this stuff went onto the small, old green Toyota pickup. It was another one of those times that I wished I had my camera.

One little side note on Cashbuild (some one make sure David Atkins hears about this). When I first walked in it, I saw the bath tubs, and toilets lined up and rows of timber. I thought I was going to cry. Siphiwe thought I was crazy. He could care less about the contents of that store, but it reminded me of Home Depot. HOME DEPOT! But I must say it was about a tenth the size of our Home Depots and doesn’t have near the items. Toilets, bath tubs, sinks, faucets, lumber, wire, nails, doors, a few electrical items and tools, wheelbarrows and out houses made out of corrugated iron. That’s about the extent of their inventory. Did I go up and down the isles? Yep.

Typical of all of the weeks so far, it was filled with ups and downs. There were frustrating moments that put me way outside of my comfort zone and times when western way of wanting to do things just didn’t fit with the pace or thinking of Swaziland. There were times when I was probably a bit more direct than I should have been such as when I laughed when Rev. Ngema told me that in Swaziland “no” doesn’t necessarily mean “no.” At least I kept my mouth shut and didn’t say out loud “great, and ‘yes’ doesn’t necessarily mean ‘yes.’ It usually means “I don’t have a clue what you are saying” or ‘I don’t want to talk about it.’” There were times I wondered why I am here especially since the language is such a barrier. (They can’t understand my English any better than I can understand theirs!)

But, God always steps in and pulls me out. He gives me my sense of humor. He puts that person who lights up with a beautiful smile when I say “hi” to them in my path. He makes the lavender on the Jacaranda trees that are blooming so brilliant it takes my breath away. He brings the sweet music of the children’s voices saying “Hi Chris” as I walk through the school yard. He sends an encouraging e-mail or phone call my way. Or He blesses me with caring women in bible study. He has put that love of Swaziland in my heart. I could go on and on about all the ways He truly blesses me and reminds me that I am not here by chance nor am I alone, but that I do have to be patient, faithful and seek him in all that I do.

“From one man, he made every nation of men that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us." Acts 17:26-27

1 comment:

Judy said...

Frustration, I can relate to that. It know my way isn't God's way and not always the way Ed would like me to go. But, I am slowy learning how to listen to Ed and of course, God. You would think that I'd learn after all these years, but I think God is just continuing to shape and mold me.
At our chuch this moring, we had a Women's Ministry moring of good food and fellowship and a time of quiet worship. I felt blessed with the time spent this morning.
Keep up the good work you are doing, even with frustration, His will will be accomplished through you. Judy