Last week after going into Dakar and figuring out what we had on our plates. We came back and I set to work. I looked at our calendar and decided what days we would go into Dakar. Then looking at those days and the people we wanted to connect with, I created a schedule of who we would see when. I made a list of all the emails that needed to get done and the meals that I had planed for the week. Then there was that moment as I looked at the calendar with all that I had planned with confidence that it seemed like we should be able to accomplish our ministry goals this week. It all seemed doable while still allowing me the important time that I need to be with my children and family. It was a joyous moment.
And then the phone rings…
Cecil was calling to tell me that a close member of their family had died out in the village. The phone call was cut off as she ran out of phone credit (very common here). A sinking feeling filled me as I looked at my carefully planned week and knew that I would have to throw it all out the window. After a few moments of composing myself, I threw on appropriate clothes for visiting someone and went over to talk to her face to face. I sat and sympathized with her in her loss and felt her pain as she too was now feeling the stress of losing her whole week to the preparations that lay ahead. I then asked what my responsibilities were as her (adopted) daughter. Meal preparations were my main responsibilities. Which meant that I would be spending most of the beginning of my week out at their village, including spending the night on Tuesday before the funeral which would take place on Wednesday. Tuesday which was supposed to be my day in Dakar would have to be pushed back to Thursday. Monday which was supposed to be my day to do emails would now be spent out at the village. I would be gone all day Monday cooking, Tuesday night and all day Wednesday as well, Thursday I would be in Dakar and Friday I would have to try to not be completely exhausted as I want to have time and energy to spend with my kids.
As I made new calculations and I looked at my week, I now felt like it was more than I could manage. So quickly – just like that – it changed. I was reminded of one of the things that makes life stressful here. Here we function as part of a larger family and when something effects the family it effects us all. I remembered why I need God to get me through each day. I can plan all day here and yet I have to be prepared to throw it away at a moments notice. For a planner such as myself this is never easy. Yet living in that constant state of dependency on God is always good place to be.
Our ease back into life is over, we are now in the full throws of it again. Monday was a long day out cooking lunch at the village. I was reminded of the challenge it is as my language skills in that context are very limited and I am still an outsider in so many ways. Let’t just say it is very humbling. Tonight I head out again. I am dreading a night of little sleep in the village as I am sure we will be working late into the night and that I will be sleeping on a bed with who knows who. Yet I know that it will be worth it, because I know that being there means the world to my host mom and being part of relationships is where ministry begins. So … Ready or not…let the adventure begin.