So, as I might have said before, there are many things about my everyday life here in Gabon that I did not expect. For example, completely modern living arrangements, complete with running water (which would ocassionaly shut off at night but is now working properly) and a flat-screen television (which has not been used once the entire time I have been here, btw). We also have ipod docks, so we always have Michael Buble or Karen Carpenter serenading us as we cook our American food. Dinners have included spaghetti, grilled cheese, and meat loaf.
Something else I did not expect was to be living with a master bread baker (in our eyes at least). It just so happens that this master is Dan! He can make beautiful, delicious loaves of bread without even using a bread machine! My mind was officially blown with the first batch. I was extremely excited with the second batch, and now by the third I know that when Dan and Alicia move to Bongolo we will yes, be losing some awesome people, but also will no longer have our supply of heavenly home-made bread!
I think I was most content, though, a few nights ago when Dan came perkily to my bedroom door holding a bottle of milk in one hand and a tupperwear container in the other and cheerfully said, “Milk and chocolate-chip cookies!” And somehow these cookies, made from the recipe on the chip bag, were some of the best I have ever had. Every morning, afternoon, and evening along with our medicines and pills we had our cookies.
So no, as I walked into my new home in Africa I did not expect to see seasons of “The Office” on DVD laying by a television larger than mine at home. Within the first week of being in this new country I was lounging on a sunny beach, sipping Coca Cola and reading a book. This isn’t the life of a missionary! I thought to myself. And for many, it is an extravagant life.
How do I find a balance? How do I learn while also finding time to rest? How do I give while I am also receiving so much? One day I sit in the middle of a one-room clinic, watching mice run along the walls. The next day I lounge on a couch watching “Discovery Channel”. And yet…somehow I feel at peace with the entire situation. My ultimate purpose not only here in Africa but in my life is to bring glory to God’s name. Can I do that by taking the blood pressure of a woman with malaria? Yes. How about my cooking dinner for my team-mates? Of course. Could I even bring glory to God as I sit here and watch “Amazing Grace” (with JR…interesting) and type this? I believe I am. Being a “missionary” isn’t just about doing, it’s about being. I am completely His, even if I lose sight of that sometimes. But I know that He has my days planned. Walking in the will of our God may not be easy, may not always be fun…possibly might not be safe. But it is a road of certainty–certainty that my works are not futile, my pain is not unnecessary, and that God is good. All the time.