We have now been in Senegal for two weeks, and God is teaching us so much on many different fronts. Many of these things are hard to verbalize, and there are others that I am sure we aren’t even aware of yet.
Our French classes began this morning, but I thought I would share with you a few things we have learned outside of class:
Everything should be in submission to the greatest thing (The Gospel of Jesus).
Yes, the Gospel is why we packed up our family to move across the ocean, but the need to prioritize the our lives has not ceased. God reminded me of this last week while I rode in a car with another missionary. To understand the our conversation you need to know that driving in Dakar (or crossing the street for that matter) is not for the faint of heart. Cars, buses, scooters, and horse carts battle it out each caring more about where they can fit rather than where they are “should” fit.
As we talked about cars and traffic he told me that the first time he bought a car in Dakar, he bought a new one. What he found was that in the tight and complicated traffic bumps, scrapes, dings, and dents were an inevitability. He then very honestly told me “I soon started to hate the very people we came here to save.” The car he drove that day had its flaws, but he told me that was the very reason he bought it. I’m not saying that everyone needs to drive a rusted out clunker, but even the cars we own need to be in submission to the God News of Jesus.
The next lesson also came while talking with another missionary in the car:
God didn’t place me where I am just so He could work on the people around me, it is also the place He can best work on me.
When I cast the vision for why I wanted to move to West Africa, I talked about the importance of church planting, and the need for the lost to hear about eternal hope and reconciliation with God. Sure I mentioned that I would need to be a learner… but God wants to teach me more that language and culture, He wants to first teach me about Himself.
And that’s the way it should be.
If I could learn all the languages and cultures of the face of the earth, but had nothing of value to communicate, what would be the point?
God wants to conform me to be more like Himself, so that when I learn to communicate; not only will I have something worth saying, but I will be someone worth listening to.
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. (Philippians 2:3,4)