"Maybe success is measured best by nothing less than our obedience."
Yesterday morning I woke up to find 3 people sitting in the living room, which is not unusual. Almost every day someone is here at 6 or 7 waiting for Morris or Aida to wake up so they can talk to them. Such a busy life this family leads!
Anyway, these people were here to report to Aida about a missing girl. One of my students in P1 (1st grade) class at Covenant School. Her name is Betty and she is 6 years old. She is part of the I Choose You program, which is a ministry that takes children out of the slum (Namatala--very close to my African house, I walk there often.) and provides education and basic needs for them. They have not seen Betty since Tuesday morning. Apparently this is not an unusual occurance. Several I Choose You kids have struggled with the transition between the slum of Namatala to the good life they've been given. These kids have dug in the rubbish heaps for food their entire life, so when someone offers them good food, clothes, and a private education, they don't really know what to do. What a perfect analogy of my spiritual life! I have been given so much but I'd rather dig for rubbish and fall back on a life of sin than take the FREE GIFTS I have been given. Aida says she tells the runaway kids that if they just took a few more steps past the rubbish heap, they would be at the school. So close, yet so far away. Please pray for Betty and her family. Her sister was the one encouraging her to go into town and look for trash at the hotels. Pray that Betty is safe and that she will come home to the good life soon.
On a lighter note, I washed my own clothes yesterday with Eva!! It took SO long and I don't think that is an African experience I want to bring back to America. About halfway through, my hands started cramping up and I was really wanting a washing machine. I thought I was doing pretty well, but it turns out as I was putting clothes in the rinse bucket, Eva was rewashing them because I didn't do a good job. Aida said that if a man saw me washing like that he wouldn't even pay 1 cow for me as a bride price. She said I am only worth a pig! We discussed my qualifications as an African bride and laughed about that for a long time.
I have had some hard school days lately, but coming home to the precious 4-year-old son of the lady that rents from Aida cheers me up SO much. His name is Marvin and he always comes yelling "Julie" (not mzungu) and he is ready for hugs and kisses. Even when I'm tired, one of my favorite parts of this trip is playing with Marvin and his brothers!
The rough school days have made me challenge the idea that I am being a "successful" teacher. Sometimes it seems like the kids aren't learning anything at all, but I can't think of a better way to teach them that fits with their system of education. I'm trying to remember that loving people and being available is what I am here to do, and if I can do my best at that, that's all I can do.