THE BUSH BUSH
So I just got back from the BUSH BUSH, and by that I mean the kind of place where kids run up to you and then run away once they realize you are a WHITIE (“Acuna”—which is akin to Mzungu here) and they think you are going to eat them for lunch or something. But man, I think I would have just stayed out there forever if they had let me. The stars were enough to make me want to live out there in a cave somewhere. We drove about 6 hours on a bumpy bus ride out to an area near Nampula (of course you have no idea where that is…neither did I) but it was beautiful---mountains…greenery….it reminded me so much of Uganda. The village people were so welcoming. For them, this may be the one time during the year that they receive love from a white person. Which after all the colonialism and fighting, makes me feel pretty good to bring just a small piece of redemption. So we get there at night and set up our tents in the dark (reminiscent of my college daysJ) then we go show the JESUS film…only not the good JESUS film that I like to watch on Easter…its the one with the really corny Jesus with matted down hair—its about 2 ½ hours long in Makua…which makes it extremely funny because none of the mouth movements match the sounds. But still, hundreds of people come out of the wood-work to watch and the children were just enamored.
All in all it was pretty awesome. We asked all the people who were sick to come forward and we just started laying hands on them and praying for them. I’m tempted here to tell ridiculous stories of supernatural healing that I’ve heard of happening here and apply it to this outreach…but that would be slightly stretching the truth. The first few people I got were drunk, and in broken Makua and Portuguese we worked out that they wanted to be delivered from their alcohol addiction…which was pretty funny, as they were seriously intoxicated. So I prayed for them. I was like, “Lord can’t I just see someone get healed instead of all these drunk people?” Not sure if they got sober or not..but that’s really for God to work out. I prayed for several children who had headaches, probably from dehydration, and they said that it was better after I prayed….so I’m just believing that God healed people. Then I prayed with another girl for a woman who had a crooked thumb.
Now, when it comes to healing, I want to believe as much as the next person, but I’ll be honest and say I’m pretty much a skeptic. God is stretching me here to increase my expectations because often I find my faith is small. I want to KNOW that I KNOW someone is healed, and that’s hard to figure out when they speak a different language. But this woman’s finger literally looked broken before we started and we prayed and she could move it more. Then we asked her to take off her necklace, which in my spirit, I believed was witchcraft, and she did and her finger got even better. By the end she was smiling and moving her thumb and showing people…so I feel like God really healed her…which when you think about it...is pretty amazing. Most of all, I think I’m learning just to love them, as they are, whether or not God does something miraculous. This journey with God is a mix-up of mess with the miraculous sprinkled in there sometimes.
The next day we went around the village and we prayed for a Muslim man who had a serious eye infection. After about an hour we saw some improvement and he was getting better…but mostly we just loved him and spoke about Jesus and His power to heal him. He was receptive….but some things you just really have to leave to God to complete the work He has begun. It’s not all WOW here. Sometimes, you pray for people and you don’t know if God healed them or not, but you just stand in faith and you hug them, and you dance with them, and laugh with them and know that you might be the only white person who will ever hug them or ever share about Jesus to them. It’s pretty powerful….just love. And in the end, its not about us. I laid my hands on someone, they got healed. I laid my hands on someone else….they didn’t. And that could make me depressed….but in the end…its God and I don’t know His reasons….I just trust that He is a good Father. I have to choose to know that its really about loving people regardless of the results.
One thing I did love that I didn’t know was in me….was medical stuff. I put a ton of bandaids on kids with open wounds and sores. We cleaned them up as best we could and hugged them and they smiled, because they got a bandaid…but it was really sad---because some of them can die because of a cut on their leg that goes septic. That knowledge just tears me up inside. Now, that doesn’t mean I’m going to go through years of medical school…but I’m open to learning “BUSH medicine”--the kind that just makes do with what you have
I haven’t had a lot of time to process how I’m feeling to be honest. As soon as we got back from outreach….we went straight into serving dinner to about 3,000 people for Heidi’s daughter’s wedding. It was total insanity. I think the idea was really beautiful—invite the lame, the poor…to the wedding feast, like in the Bible…WWJD…and all that.
And it was beautiful seeing the people rolled up in wheelchairs getting to feast on chicken, for once that year. But it was also really hard. I was outside manning the lines to make sure people didn’t like kill each other to get in the building….yes, little me, a bouncer basically. I don’t know how I get these jobs J But I love it. I had to end up taking charge because one line was going faster than the other….I realized, as much as I really don’t want to admit that I am type A, I think I am….and that really upsets me…but it was just going ALL wrong---people were about to riot because one line was going faster than the other…so me, who speaks barely any Portuguese has to direct the traffic and equal out the lines. But somehow we managed. I did somehow get punched in the mouth…but not too bad…they call it “holy chaos” here. Sometimes it just feels like chaos. Heidi is a complete idealist and I totally love that about her...she inspires people to dream with her beautiful outlook and positivity. I’m wondering though if there also needs to be a balance. But then again this IS AFRICA and you sort of have to roll with the punches.
Today I got back from the lovely chore of latrine duty. And yes, its what you think it is. But we just laughed and cleaned because we’re doing it for Jesus….right? And yes, I had those big yellow gloves on Mom that you sent me with that I didn’t think I would use. Just a day in the life. We are not super heroes, we are just here---getting dirty and getting stretched and some days it feels better than others. But always we are learning to lean on our Beloved.