I don’t normally write about my struggles because I never want to come across as complaining about our host country. So let me be clear, the following is not a complaint about Senegal. If it is a complaint at all, it is a complaint towards my own sin nature.
Now that we are clear on that, to be honest this latest transition has had some difficulties. About a week ago we moved from Dakar to the the city we will be basing our of for the time being. We are currently waiting for our house to be ready to occupy, but in the meantime God has provided an apartment for us to stay in.
For a variety of reasons sleep has come with some difficulty. Prolonged electricity and water outages were added difficulties. Living in another transitional place that is “not our own” has also at times been difficult. None of these however were the straw that broke the camel’s back that was my patience.
No, that place goes to the number of problems I’ve had trying to make our vehicle and corresponding paperwork completely legal. Again, I don’t feel like details are important because my focus here isn’t complaining about the details, but how I responded to them. It’s sufficient to say that the paperwork has taken a lot of time, caused a lot of stress, and still isn’t finished.
For the first time that I can remember since moving to Senegal, I began to feel resentment. Resentment for the country that never ask me to be here. Resentment for place I willingly chose to live, resentment for the place God has sent me. More tragically though, resentment against people whom God loves. Yes, it is possible to have a righteous anger towards people, situations, and maybe even places… I didn’t have that.
Thankfully, it didn’t last too long before I came home where the Lord used my lovely wife to help me regain a better perspective and let go of the resentment caused by self pity.
I began to let go of the resentment I felt, but to be honest I was still lacking in the joy department. Then, we went to Church.
We arrived late as we weren’t sure what time it started. Like most churches here it has no website or Facebook page. Still, one kind lady made sure to make it to the door in time to greet us. The church attendance that Sunday almost doubled with our arrival. We arrived during the time of giving thanks, when the congregation was invited to give a testimony of how God has been at work in our lives. I thanked God that we arrived safely to our new home, and introduced our family to the congregation as is normal here. Shortly after the preacher gave an encouraging sermon on the importance of faith. Then, to finish out the service the preacher asked for the church to pray for our family, for our kids, for our transition, and for the ministry.
I walked out of church reminded of why God has brought us here. I walked out reminded of the importance of the Church. I remembered how much more Christ had given up when he left Heaven to pursue us. I walked out thankful, and I walked out with joy.