I love knowing exactly where I stand in mmmBELLYmay land-when I goof it up, when I get it right. That's the great thing about my mmmBELLY-friends, like Leon in the picture. He's so patient while I try and try again, and then when I finally get it, he doesn't leave me guessing. He gives me a big smile, and tells me "That's it!" It's great to have honest, instant feedback. I have a thing or two or a thousand to learn from my friends in Africa.
So of course my GPS is my most prized possession. But, it doesn't work in mmmBELLYmay land. We don't really have addresses there. Or street names. Stuff like that.
One day I was out running errands with a friend. We didn't know the way back to where we were staying, so we asked someone for directions. I promptly goofed them up. We didn't realize it at first, just kept driving, the road getting rougher and rougher. I finally stopped when the road ended in a pile of rubble that even 4wd couldn't handle. I'd just started to turn the truck around, when the guy who'd given us the directions rode up on his bike, all out of breath. He'd been chasing us the whole time, but we didn't see him. He was so sorry we'd gotten lost (my fault, not his directions). After he'd apologized over and over, he led us all the way out to the main road.
I love living in Africa.
John Ortberg had a great GPS story in his book The Me I Want to Be. Totally speaking my language. He said:
"At one point while driving in this unfamiliar territory, I was quite sure the GPS voice was wrong. It said to go left, but I didn’t go left. I went right because I knew it was wrong. Then in a fascinating response, the GPS voice said, “Recalculating route. When safe to do so, execute a U-turn.” But I knew the voice was still wrong…so I unplugged the GPS. And – would you believe it? – I got crazy lost! …So we plugged the GPS back in, and do you know what the voice said?
I told you, you little idiot. You think I’m going to help you now? There’s no way. You rejected me. You just find your own way home!
Of course, the voice didn’t really say that.
And God isn’t like that either."
Guess what came to visit today? A camel! He and his rider came all the way down from the desert in Niger. It's really hot up there, and sometimes the people don't have enough food. But when the camels come down to where I live, lots of people help them out and give them food to take back. You can see the food that this camel and his rider got tied in the black bags on the camel's saddle.
Would you like to ride on a camel?
I miss you.
But this morning I woke up and saw a glorious haze in the sky. Gone are the heat and humidity, or at least the humidity, because the harmattan winds are back! They blow lovely dry air in from the Sahara. Also half the dust from the desert, but for today it's a dry heat again, so who cares? Being in the States from December-February I thought I'd missed all of coolish season, but West Africa seems to have saved a day of harmattan just for me.
Yesterday I was all packed up, and my passenger was ready to go. We were heading into town for me to do some errands, and for her to go to the hospital. She has some kind of cyst growing on her hand, and it stops her from being able to work as a seamstress and a plastic bag artisan.
I was already a little behind schedule, but before we could leave, my friends gathered around the truck and prayed-for me, for my friend's trip to the hospital, for safe travel, and for other stuff I didn't catch.
This happens pretty often. I have a lot to learn about prayer from my friends here.