I haven’t written in quite some time. I could give numerous reasons why but the truth is…I haven’t been able to find the words. Life is settling in. We are experiencing some of the challenges that come from living in a 3rd world country…as well as numerous blessings. Many times I don’t write because I am not sure that my words can do this experience justice. Other times…it’s because…I want to keep it to myself…the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Recently, my heart was convicted on this thought process. I felt God saying
“I sent your family there to help me serve this community…as well as your community in the US. Keeping this to yourself does not glorify me and how I am using your family for MY will.”
…here it goes…
Living in a third world country is not easy. However, we LOVE it here! God has been using these challenges to show us where we are weak and areas of our hearts that we are not giving to Him. We cannot imagine being anywhere but here at this time in our lives.
*Electricity is quite a challenge. Here is how it works: city power is only on for a couple of hours during the daytime and usually comes back on at night from 11:00pm or 12:00pm and stays on until around 6:00am or 7:00am. When city power is off, our electricity is run by an inverter with 8 batteries. We have a refrigerator that uses a lot of power. We started here with 4 batteries but were not able to use the refrigerator and lights with only that amount of power. When that battery power is gone, we have no electricity at all! The batteries are recharged by the city power. We have recently been having issues with the “transformer” that brings city power into our house. Basically, the transformer has blown twice and we have not been receiving city power at all during those times! No city power means the batteries do not get charged…which means no electricity at all for us.
~The blessing? WE HAVE 8 BATTERIES AND AN INVERTER!!! Some of the houses around us ONLY rely on city power! Remember, city power is only on for a couple of hours during the day. Otherwise, it is only on at night while we sleep. Can you imagine NEVER having electricity at night while sitting around with your family? Can you imagine always cooking by candlelight or a lampara?
*Clean water is another issue. The water that comes into our home comes straight from the river. It has not been purified and none of the little parasites in the water have been zapped with any kind of chemical. Thus, we are unable to drink our water. The water that we drink and cook with comes from large bottles of purified water that we buy. (Luckily, our church helped set up a water purification center a couple of years ago. Many people in the community have benefited from it!) About a month after we moved here, we would get an infection any time that we got an open wound. We were covered with infections all over our bodies because of all of our bug bites. Our water is held in a big tank, called a tanaka, on our roof. Apparently, we were suppose to put bleach in it to kill the parasites. We didn’t know this at the time, so we were basically bathing in parasites! Yeah, that’s super nasty, right?
*Note: We have put bleach in the tanaka and are having NO problems with parasites and festering wounds now.
~The blessing? WE HAVE RUNNING WATER IN OUR HOME AND *MOST* OF THE TIME HOT WATER! Many of the homes in this area still do not have running water. You will see people going down to the river to do their laundry. You will also see families bringing empty jugs to pipes in the community with water running from them. They then have to carry these full jugs of water back to their home. That is ALOT of work. In our home, we only have to turn on the faucet. Seriously, the fact that we have a hot water heater is unheard of!
*Understanding the culture and the language is SO. HARD!!! There are so many people that we want to help. We know that we can’t and shouldn’t help everyone that wants our help. We have really been praying for discernment in this area. Those that have come before us have created a system that is based on relationships, not what Americans can give to them. We want to be respectful of that and want to build on that, not mess it up.
This language barrier is TOUGH STUFF! Since Mo spent much of his formative years in the canal zone of Panama, he definitely has a leg up on us in this department. He is able to sit and have conversations with others. The girls have been going to Dominican school in the afternoon. I am AMAZED at how much Spanish they are speaking. And then there’s me…
There were a couple of days a few weeks ago that I was on the verge of depression. I was discouraged and sad and felt like a failure and didn’t feel accepted. Yeah, all of that and more. I would see the ladies sitting on their porches chatting and having coffee. In the beginning, I would sit with them and attempt to have conversation. Suddenly, it just felt too frustrating for everyone involved. I began to listen to Satan’s lies that I was a burden to them and had nothing to offer because I couldn’t speak the language…
…and then, as always, God spoke to my heart…
What I heard him say was…“This is hard! I have called your family here and came ahead of you to prepare this way. You can do good things, but you will have to rely on me for your strength. I will bridge this language barrier if you will trust me and rely on me.”
A few days later, we had two families over for dinner. We made a traditional American meal to share a bit of our culture with them. Two of the things that we made were deviled eggs and sweet tea. These were a HUGE HIT!!! Mo seriously makes the best sweet tea in the world!!!
All that know me would not use “good cook” as a way to describe me. However…word has gotten out here in the village that I am a good cook! Praises and to His name be the glory!!! I have now shared sweet tea and deviled eggs (aka los hueves a la diabla) with several of the women here…
…and then we sit on their porch and muddle through this crazy language called Spanish!!!
Who would have thought that God would use deviled eggs and sweet tea to bridge this language barrier?