28 September 2010

What We Need Versus What We Want

I made a mistake.  I was counting the days of my lease from the day I received the keys, but my landlord was counting the days of my lease from the day we signed the contract.  She showed up on Friday while we were at an awesome graduation party for our friend Bette.  Casey and Abbe were home, and she explained she was the owner of the house and promptly deposited 15 gigantic boxes and bags in the middle of the living room.  She explained that she would be doing some renovations to the house, and that she would come to see me the next day.

We waited, but she didn't come that day, or the next day, or the day after that.  This morning she came to my office and asked when we would be ready to leave, since she was going to come on Saturday.  Saturday?  As in the end of this week, Saturday?  Yes, Saturday.  Leah and I are expected to vacate the premises on Saturday because that's when my lease is up.  Casey and Abbe will leave Dodoma on a bus that morning, and the landlord will arrive at 9am the same morning to take possession.

Leah and I had already determined that we were ready to move somewhere smaller and cheaper, and had one friend start looking for a place for us, but we thought we had three more weeks.  Turns out with have three days to find a new home.

The situation is not desperate.  We don't have too much to pack, since the house was furnished, and several of our friends are looking for possible houses for us to move into.  If nothing works out by Saturday, we have many homes we can crash at for a few days or weeks.  It's good to have community to be a safety net.

Yesterday Leah and I had discussed our needs versus our wants in a new place.  There are the mostly non-negotiables (water on site, power, two bedrooms, secure) and then there are the things we're asking God to bless us with.  Will you pray with us that the perfect house will be found and available by Saturday? 

This is the specific dream we have:
- Indoor plumbing that works
- Working electricity in all rooms
- Easy walking distance from the church and our friends (within 2 miles)
- Quiet, private, secure neighborhood
- 2-3 bedrooms, living room, and kitchen
- Cheaper rent than we have been paying (less than $100 per month)
- A walled compound with some vegetation of some kind
- A nice landlord who will work with us

We're confident that God will provide our needs, and that we will not be homeless.  Please pray that we will have peace of mind and heart, and that we will release all control and worry to God. 

Now we are going home to start packing...

17 September 2010

They're enrolled!

A few months ago I wrote in one of my support letters about my dreams for building an education fund that would enable our kids to go to university. As part of that dream, we want to prepare kids academically to be eligible for university. To that end, when we received a $100 investment from a friend of Leah's, we used the money to enroll five of our kids in a Pre-Form 1 tutorial program. Essentially, it's a three month tutorial program where the kids are getting prepared for secondary school (like high school) by being coached in English, computer usage, mathematics, and sciences. Our five kids, Sauda, Veronica, Michael, Judi, and Emmanuel, started on Monday, and will report to Leah and I each week what they're learning. The idea is that by getting a head start on secondary school, they'll be able to succeed from the start, and by the time they graduate in six years, they'll be ready to not only attend, but excel in university.

Best of luck to these five test cases! Make us proud!
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11 September 2010

In a difficult moment...

Usually my Facebook status is something cheery and upbeat, an update from the program, repeating something that struck me as funny, or informing the world of something odd that happened.  Sometimes, though, something deeper slips out.

A few minutes ago, on my way out the door for lunch, I updated my Facebook status to say "Leisha Adams is weary in body, mind, and spirit."  I don't think I'd even realized how true that is until I had already written it.

Since the end of June I have been traveling or had guests from America here in Dodoma.  The guests have all been great, and most of them were either dear friends or have become close friends during their time here, but the continuous grind of arrangements, assistance, and rearrangements has taken its toll.  In addition, I am far away from my family as they are dealing with several unexpected developments, and a couple of friendships, here and in the States, have had conflict.

I have an Enemy, just as you do.  His desire is to wear me down however possible, drawing me away from the Source of my life and strength.  To that end, on top of the large complications of my personal life, there are innumerable small difficulties arising, like our new neighbors, who literally scream at each other throughout each evening, and the kitchen tap choosing this moment to start leaking a steady stream of water whenever there is water in our neighborhood, regardless of which way we twist the handle.

Nothing that has come my way is insurmountable, but all of these things together is...well, daunting.  Continuing in humility, patience, and grace is taking every ounce of my attention and daily allocation of strength, and, returning from lunch to continue on with my work, I had trouble refocusing on the five hundred word Swahili essay I have to translate today.  I decided to read some friends' blogs while I ate, and my friend (and recent traveler) Will Campbell had posted this photo of me with one of the kids here.

I can't say why exactly, but this photo really ministered to me.  Something in the beauty and peace of the photo refreshed my heart a bit.  I needed that small boost, that reminder of why I am here.

I really covet your prayers right now.  There's plenty of work to do for the rest of this month, and the last of our visitors for the time being are leaving the first bit of October, then I'll probably take some time for vacation and integrate back into the parts of life here that I've put to the side during this busy season.  Please pray for balance and rest, and that the Holy Spirit would be the Source of my "endelea", the Swahili word for continuing on.  I need some of that supernatural continuing on right now.

 Be blessed, family and friends.

02 September 2010

His Words

There are two things that I use to energize my passion for God's words when reading the Bible starts to feel a little stale.  One is The Message, a modern language paraphrase of the Bible.  I find that familiar verses grab my attention because they're stated differently than in the translation I'd been reading since childhood.  The rephrased words take me back to the actual meaning of the verses, rather than just skimming over easy-to-ignore, half-memorized sentiments for the umpteenth time.

The second thing I do is take a Psalm and try to get at the images of the words.  Scripture, and the Psalms in particular, are so full of imagery, so I start making little sketches to bring a new dimension to the verses.  When I'm ambitious, I'll even get out the box of colored pencils that Donovan and Jenice Baker sent me.

The picture below is scanned from my journal.  Every morning of the work week we gather as a staff to worship, pray, and study the Bible together.  We rotate through being responsible for the devotion, and a few weeks ago my co-worker Tiffanee led us in a time of meditation on Psalm 89.  These were my notes: