So you can pray for sleep for us… 2 nights ago I woke up to a mouse dropping. Not the shiny black pellets, but a real live mouse, falling 30 feet from the thatch above onto my head while I slept. Of course, you can imagine the next scene, shrieks of terror, pandemonium, chaos in the dark….Jay and the cat come to the rescue, but there was no sleeping in my bed as I looked and saw more wriggling bodies of mice above me. Last night I braved returning to my bed, on the condition that Jay take the side that is closer to the mouse drop. At 2 am we wake up to a big sound. Our thatch roof was rustling, we could hear footsteps, we could hear the mice screeching. Something was on top, looking for those mice. Given that our best options of animals here which could possibly climb up onto the thatch are predators like cobra, mongoose, leopard, baboon, monkey or monitor lizard we were not sure what our next move should be. Flashlights at the ready, there was nothing to see, just the crunching of our roof under the weight of the culprit. I am the first to abandon ship, leaving the room to squeeze past the bed rail of Jesse’s toddler bed to share with him. At least he has a wooden roof. My last words to Jay in parting, were, half serious, have joking, “don’t let it eat you”
The other day, I came across a quote from Martin Luther that has repeated in my mind again and again. “What will you do in the mundane days of Faithfulness?” I can hardly call our life mundane, just having moments ago killed a scorpion with a light saber (not usually the weapon of choice, but it was the only tool handy), after chasing baboons in the yard, treating patients with all sorts of confounding health needs, having been medivaced in the last month, raising 4 wily kids in the bush and partnering with Jay who (in his spare time) is teaching himself how to thread his own pipe so he can finish a needed construction project. I cannot claim life is boring, just incessant, unrelenting, exhausting (may be the8th month of pregnancy talking…) And the hard part to life, to ministry, to this place is just being consistent in the middle.
We visited Kalacha a few weeks ago for a prayer weekend with our fellow missionaries in the North. Praying especially for our unit leader, whose parents (missionaries also) were both shot in Ethiopia after 30 years of ministry there. Faithfulness. On our drive, while crossing the Chalbi Desert, a great mirage appeared in front of us. A beautiful vista of a lake, cool, refreshing in the nearly 40 degree heat of the desert . The kids, having been cooped up in the back, dusty and hot, leaped from the car and ran towards the water. But it was all an illusion. They ran to the mirage instead of drinking the water available in the car, firmly believing the best was just ahead.
And it is easy in the middle, the mundane, the incessant to want to look for something else to run to, the mirage of something better, something more refreshing or easy or less difficult. And at times God in His grace does provide that lake in the midst of the desert, but more often than not, it is the question of ‘how will you spend your days in the midst of the mundane (hard, weary)’ which we face. This is a question for everyone, not just us. It can be applied not just to ministry but to life, to parenting, relationships, work. How will you be faithful. How can we be faithful in this ministry with the Samburu. His love is unrelenting, and we have such a small capacity by which to share His love, we have such a narrow vision of His grace, such a limited idea of His working, but we have the privilege, the choice of being faithful.
I am so encouraged that we are but the vessel and He is the treasure. If people were but to look at me, or to me, I would be despairing indeed. For I know how often I fail and fall desperately short. I am broken and cracked and merely the dust of the earth, I have nothing great to offer. There is no hope in ‘sprucing’ up this vessel. My greatest comfort is, and what keeps us here perhaps, is the truth that what we offer others is not in what we do, but in who He is. And that offering I can spill and pour out onto others
“I want to believe my faith in the Gospel of Grace is not limited to the ‘spiritual’ things but is exploding onto every single mundane moment in my life. I want the shrapnel of this explosion to embed itself in every enjoyment and failure, and celebration and tragedy coming my way.”- Matthew B. Redmond
So I will put Luther’s question to you, wherever you are… in your life of glamour, excitement, mediocrity, stress, joy,…What will you do in …..the mundane days of faithfulness.