Friday, February 17, 2012
Eyes Wide Open
We have been here for 6 weeks now and I'm starting to notice, even more, that the needs here are far beyond anything we can even make a difference in. There are so many students whom we have met that are here at this seminary because they have a calling from God. These students have a heart to share God's Word with people in their tribal language and to live a life of service to their King. It seems for many of them, the pursuit of this dream is a constant struggle. The seminary is in DEEP financial difficulties, and it shows in the deteriorating buildings. The staff here is operating on very minimal salaries. The current President is trying very hard to build the school back up and to be a good steward with the money that is available. It's discouraging to see hard workers with very little to eat because the money is just not there. It just so happens that the time we are here is corresponding with the end of the dry season (also known as the hunger season). Many of the staff and students have farm land that they work to produce food for their families, so once the rain comes these plants will grow. Please pray for the future of CBTS. We have met so many amazing people here, all of them with their stories of how God brought them here. One gal I talked to yesterday is pursuing a counseling degree so that she can help others heal from trauma in their lives. She shared some of her story with me: Her father died when she was just 14 years old. In Africa, it is expected that if your father dies then your father's brother would care for you. There were 2 uncles and both refused care of these children and their mother. They said that at 14 she should be able to care for herself. My daughter is 14 this year and as capable as she is, I could not imagine sending her off on her own to make her way. This woman seemed so ashamed when she shared how she would beg just so she would have food. I thought it was amazing that she is still pursuing school even when everything was against her. To me she is a strong person that found a way to cope through a very difficult situation. She is married now and a few years ago, she woke to find that her healthy 2 month old child had died during his sleep (probably SIDS). The heartbreak she has gone through I cannot even begin to imagine. I think this woman will make an amazing counselor as she leads others through their pain to the ONE who can give comfort. I try to hire anyone who needs work to help in anyway possible. I have also offered food to anyone who comes through the door, because I realize that many of these friends I have made would never tell me that they are hungry. We are here only one more month and need to be careful of giving the impression that all white people have excess. The missionaries who are here full time are also living on less. They have given up much to answer the call that God has put on their life. Today was our last day with our cook Irene, even her life is one of being a missionary of sorts. She has made our transition into this home so enjoyable. Irene has cooked for a missionary lady from Canada for 8 years and was so good to us this past month. We had American food prepared and she showed us how to shop at the market too. During the past 2 weeks she has helped train another gal who is just starting out as a cook. What a blessing it has been to rub shoulders with all these students and cooks that have come through our door. Pray that we will be wise and discerning as we reach out to those in need and encourage our brothers and sisters in Christ.