Sing, O childless woman. Shout for joy you who has never given birth! Burst into song you who have never been in labor... for more are the children of the solitary woman than of her who has a husband. - Isaiah 54.
I don't think I have ever stopped to read those words before. Someone posted it on facebook and I am sure the surrounding verses give it another meaning and much more context but I have to say that one verse really hit me. The more time that passes with me being here, the more I get questions like "how long are you staying" and "why did you chose to come HERE from THERE?". Especially since moving I am getting more pointed questions.
Why didn't you stay in the states and get married?
Why did you chose to be in a less safe environment?
Why chose to be so far from family?
Why would you rent a hause all by yourself rather than wait for a man to come along (very uncustomary in this culture)?
When are you going HOME? (meaning America)
You get the picture... There's a lot of ways to answer them I guess, but heres what I can say.
I do want a husband but no one said he's in the states. He may not even be in Zambia, and frankly he may not exsist- but either way I dont believe in a female sitting on her hands waiting for prince charming. There's a lot to do in this world and what I am looking for is a man who sees what I am doing, appreciates why I am doing it and Who I am doing it for, and loves me for those reasons.
As far as safety and comfort go, there is a point there... but again, I have been comfortable and spoiled for 25 years... I could do without a lot. In fact though, I am quite comfortable here. Sure, I go without water for days, and theres creatures and critters I could do without, random stomach bugs and illnesses, and as I sit here writing, there's no power and my new house has no hot water so I've been taking ice cold bucket baths for a week.... but I am blessed to have found a beautiful home to rent and I have furniture to sit on and a bed to sleep in and I am doing better than I could ask.
There's lots of things I took for granted in the states. Growing up for the past 25 years, nearly every single time I turned a faucet, water came out! When I flipped a light switch, it turned on! Those rules dont necessarily apply here... but will that kill me? I have learned you can do WITHOUT so much in this life, and I have so much MORE than what is necessary for survival. (And miriads more than I deserve).
The truth of the matter is, what I am doing here, and to be able to be a part of in the LION orphan sponsorship program is worth more than all the hot showers in the world (or just showers for that matter)... it's worth more than eating at my favorite restaurants and having power every day and having doctors I can trust and the ease of simple tasks not taking a week when in the states they'd be done in 10 minutes....
It's worth more because I am called to do something that was a heavy burdon on the heart of Jesus himself. Daily, I interact and do my best to assist, care, and show love to the widows and especially the orphans. Some people wear those WWJD bracelets while they go out partying or spend their time shopping at the mall, but this.... this is what Jesus would do. He'd seek God's calling and when God made it clear to Him what he should do He'd do it, and He'd suffer if need be, but do it with a selfless and loving and egoless heart. It's an honour to walk in shoes that Jesus would wear. I haven't mastered the selfless or egoless part, and I am not even good at being loving all the time but I am doing my best. I know this is where he wants me to serve and if I had to do it in a cardboard box and eat only rice to get it done, I would. The mercy and undeserved love of God is shown in the fact that I do it surrounded by all these earthly comforts.
So when I get questions like " BUT when are you going HOME?" I simply say "after work" and head back here to Chalala until tomorrow.... :)
(By the way, the power just came back just as my computer battery was going to become low... Thanks, Lord)
So- things are moving swiftly... we are 5 months into 2012! We are up to a total count of 45 children. 45 children who try my patience, make me laugh, make me cry, and fill my heart to the brim. Every school day they get breakfast and lunch, go to school and they have a schedule for coming to us for tutoring and games etc. The classroom is so helpful and the kitchen is underway (but still in progress so keep it in your prayers!).
I wish you could see the smile on their faces on the first day of school, or playing in the yard at the church site...
By way of my own progress, it's been a long and eventful- and tiring and amazing week! Last Tuesday I officially moved out of the Williamson's property and into my own place. I was blessed to find a 3 bedroom, 3 bathroom HOUSE on a decent sized plot of land which is newly built and has all new tile and is being fitted for new kitchen cabinets and counters. I got it for almost the same price I used to pay for my discounted studio apartment in Louisville... so yea. To say I am blessed is an understatement. It is also being installed with electric fencing and a push button gate opener... so that's also a blessing. I also got a "guard" dog for free- who's actually just a puppy... and am looking into getting a second one. Dogs are GREAT security here, as many Zambians fear dogs the way we'd fear someone who had a tiger chained in their front lawn.
The very first day I moved in, I locked up to go pick up the guy who was supposed to install something in the house, and when I got back the lock had broken and there was no way in, so while he pried I kicked and 30 minutes later- we were in! Needless to say I had to have those locks replaced. Thursday morning Enock came and set up my stove for me and then rewired a light that didnt work... then we headed to town to find new locks for the doors. We spent almost an hour doing from shop to shop trying to find some that would fit! Finally we did and he came and fixed them, but then the kitchen sink wasnt working. Every time the landlord's maintenance guy came to fix the sink, the water was off so he had to leave. Finally Enock told him- just buy a new faucet! So the landlord was supposed to deliver it on Friday. He did, but it was the wrong size so they left again and said they'd come back saturday.
Friday night I locked all the doors (18 locks in all) but somehow had the wrong key for the hall door- so when I locked it it locked me in for good! I went to sleep then Sat morning used my garden tools (all I had) and a key as a screwdriver and did everything I could to get it open. It wouldn't budge so I had a good cry then called the same maintenance guy. Everything was locked so an HOUR later he came and jumped over the fence, got my keys through the window, opened the grill door and front door, got inside and then simply found the right key and let me out! He still didnt have the right faucet so he left again and then came back in the afternoon and fixed the sink!
There's no such thing as cleaning out a house for the new tennants so I came into a LOT of filth and room by room I've been bleaching and cleaning and trying to put things in their place. Through all of this I got a terrible stomach bug on Tuesday (move day) which got worse on Wedsday and as it subsided that night, I got a sore throat, earaches and I've been coughing and sneezing since.
So I am exhausted, theres a LOT of work still to be done (I have barely touched the masterbedroom let ALONE the outside...) and amid all that I have still been working in Kabanana and also from home- getting their profiles written and lists updated and spreadsheets done...
Soon though, it will all be finished and I'll reap the fruit of the labor I am putting in. little by little I see it coming together- and actually a lot of it, personally and work related, is going MUCH more smoothly than the Zambian "norm" so God's hand of blessing has been upon me and us.
So now I sing and shout for joy as a husbandless woman who has never given birth... I sing for the million blessings I don't deserve and 43 kids God has placed in my life for me to love and cherish every day....