I worried about the taxi change for last week…how stupid that was. All throughout the week, I had more than enough change, and ended up with more at the end than I started off with. Remind you of anything?
Try Mark 6:33-44
…but many saw them leaving and recognized them. People ran there by land from all the towns and arrived ahead of them.
So as He stepped ashore, He saw a huge crowd and had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. Then He began to teach them many things. When it was already late, His disciples approached Him and said, “This place is a wilderness, and it is already late! Send them away, so they can go into the surrounding countryside and villages to buy themselves something to eat.” “You give them something to eat,” He responded. They said to Him, “Should we go and buy 200 denarii worth of bread and give them something to eat?” And He asked them, “How many loaves do you have? Go look.” When they found out they said, “Five, and two fish.” Then He instructed them to have all the people sit down in groups on the green grass. So they sat down in ranks of hundreds and fifties. Then He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, He blessed and broke the loaves. He kept giving them to His disciples to set before the people. He also divided the two fish among them all. Everyone ate and was filled. Then they picked up 12 baskets full of pieces of bread and fish. Now those who ate the loaves were 5,000 men.
A couple of days ago, I was on my way to work…which for now requires a taxi. Several passed by, all filled with the maximum 5 people. A truck passed by, filling the air with smog that hung around for several minutes. Finally, I saw one that only had one passenger, sitting in the front. I called out my destination, but as it passed, I saw the other occupant, a fancy wooden casket. (Jammed 2/3rds in the taxi, and 1/3rd hanging out of a partially open trunk.) The guard and I had a good laugh about that one…saying “no, no, I don’t want that taxi.” Moments later, I was on my way in with another set of 4 passengers and the driver. It’s moments like these, when you’re sharing the passenger seat of a manual with a total stranger and your neck is arched to keep it from going out the window and your left shoulder is tucked in uncomfortably behind someone’s back, that you’re reminded that you live in Africa and things will never really be the same again.
I knew coming in that this was temporary housing, and Thursday night, I had made my decision about where I will live when I move out of here. I’d be sharing the top half of a duplex with a guy from Worldteam. It was close to work (8 minutes walking, but more like 11 when a sharply dressed man stops me to try and sell me an unfinished house). I’d have the opportunity to hang out with other Christian guys, be able to share some costs, and the place had some other advantages. I sat down with the figures that Shawn, my future roommate, had scribbled for me to write an email and confirm my plans with him. I looked at his price, and then at my finances, then back at his price and noticed that the actual cost was larger than I remembered. A while back, I to wrote you all that French school had cost more than expected, so I’ve got to be a little careful here till the new year comes back around. I closed the email, seeing that my plans and finances didn’t match very well. I needed a solution… God?
I prayed about it, talked to Dad a bit, and went to bed. The next morning, I talked to my co-worker’s husband at break time and was encouraged. I was able to meet with Shawn at lunch, he was very understanding, and we were able to renegotiate a price and space that I could be comfortable with. Another possible roadblock lifted. God is great.
This was my first full week at work, and it’s going well. I’m learning, stretching my French to the limit, and my technical skills have filled some gaps. Our department is 4 people. Officially, my boss is Sinclair, a French-speaking Cameroonian who tackles all the administrative work, and acts as our editor for French resources. Jenni, an Australian who’s been here for 8 years, is my mentor and partner. Olga, another Cameroonian, works part-time in our department. I spent the first few days sharing a tiny office with Jenni, but we moved to our new office on Wednesday. It’s spacious, with enough room to share with our other new worker when he arrives. I’ve got my own desk, but I spend a good bit of time at hers when we’re trying to solve a problem. Beside working on projects and challenges that come our way, our current goal is to update and to translate some teaching resources into French for a training we’ll be doing in the far north in early August. Please pray that we can get those resources written, corrected, and printed in an efficient manner.
Walking back home tonight from the next neighborhood, I passed a little run-down bar, and I could hear Boyz II Men’s “I’ll Make Love to You” playing over the speakers..that made me smile. I’m not usually interested in bars, but if I had someone to go in with me, I would’ve gone into that one. Since arriving home, I’ve been listening to them while writing this post, their a capella is incredible.
Bedtime, I’ve got Church tomorrow.