Last weekend I packed up some things and took off into a car with Cecil for a weekend wedding out at her home village. There are thousands of things I could share with you from my weekend, but I will try to keep the recount as simple as possible.
- We arrived Friday evening while dinner prep was taking place. I had the important role of “flashlight holder” so that the women who were cooking could see what they were cooking. Unfortunately it meant I could see as well. All the meat was being saved for the day of the wedding, so that meant that for the evening we would be eating all the insides. I saw it all…intestines, heart, stomach, liver, kidney…every piece was put out on a plate and served for those who would eat.
- God’s Blessing to me…The plate I ate had some organ, but whatever it was it was not too terrible. The trick was a little that with a lot of sauce!
- After dinner we headed back to the kitchen for lunch prep for the next day. When we got back I told Cecil that I wanted to help now. She looked at me reluctantly and said that the knives were sharp. I told here that I would be fine and so she got me a knife and put me with a group of women who were peeling and cutting carrots. None of them spoke French and so I sat there in silence carefully watching what everyone was doing and followed suit. I got many strange looks, but I am pretty used to that by now, but that familiar feeling of not belonging was very present.
- A few hours later the dancing began so we all picked up and moved to where the dancing was happening so that we could watch while we worked. It was a new style of dance that I had not seen here year, which I always enjoy.
- By this time it was quite dark and so I really had to focus on the cutting as we were cutting everything with paring knives in our hands. By the end of the night my thumbs looked like a cutting board and my fingers had the marks of anytime I missed the carrot.
- Hours later Cecil came to get me and told me it was time for bed. I looked at my phone and saw that it was 1 AM. I couldn’t believe and I knew right away that this was the second marker of God’s goodness to me as staying up late is not something I usually do well.
- I told Cecil that was I not her guest, but wanted to be treated like she would treat a grown daughter. So that meant I slept in a room all together with her and the Pastor and one of their daughters. I slept soundly… for the short time allowed…
- At 6 in the morning Cecil’s phone rang as someone had forgotten something and so we needed to do an early run to market.
- Soon after, the sounds of sticks banging together began to approach the house. Cecil explained to me that it was the groom’s family who was coming to wake up the village to tell them they were coming to get their bride today. They were out at the door and would not leave until someone came out to dance.
- After some discussion between Cecil and the pastor, she finally got up and went out to dance so they would leave. We then got dressed and spend a few hours getting tons of things at market.
- When we returned food preparations where in full swing. There were 800 pounds of potatoes to be peeled and cut, 800 pounds of onions, huge bags of cucumbers, tomatoes, green peppers, and many other things.
- This time as I walked up someone shouted out, “Get her a knife, she proved last night that she is a good worker”. Success! Those words made the long night and my calloused hands all worth it. Somehow God had helped me to stumble into these woman’s lives. I couldn’t say a word to them, but I was now a welcome member in the kitchen.
- So the rest of the morning was peeling and cutting onions and potatoes…for hours. There were probably 100 woman there. There were 20 pots each over a large fire. We cooked for over a 1000 people that day.
- I didn’t make it to the ceremony, but I realized that none of the women from the village did, it was only the visitors who went to the ceremony.
- We ate together and then village dived up to different houses based on their age. All the people who were the same age as the pastor came to his house.
- Joel and the pastor made rounds of visits
- Just after dinner, Joel and I split away with the boys, but I know that dancing went on until the early hours of the morning.
- The exhaustion hit strong and I was asleep that night before anyone else in my house.
It Was Just One Weekend, But This One Weekend Show Me….
- Sometimes ministry is just about sitting for hours with a knife and working away
- Relationships are built by living, eating and working alongside people
- Sometimes we need to give up our rights to a visitors status to enter in
- The unknowns of an adventure are scary, but the results are always worth it
- Even when I am stumbling in the dark, God helps me to make the right steps
- It will be worth it to press on in learning Wolof
- Our journey has only begun!
The village that our pastor is from has no believers besides his family. It would be great to one day have the opportunity to share more with these dear women about the truth that can be found in Christ!