She came to our house three times before I was actually there to speak with her. It must have been a crazy week but that day she came at around 6pm just when I was feeding the girls and about to hose them down for the day and get them ready for bed. I heard the “hoodi” and summoned my energy and respectfully greeted her as my elder, then welcomed her to sit on our front porch. Our girls along with other kids from the neighborhood were running amok around us, sharing the one precious and highly sought after bicycle and laughing and requesting intervention when someone was not up for sharing the two swings. She asked me how my family was and then said she had to discuss something with me. She needed to learn more English but does not have the time or money to attend school right now and she asked if I could teach her. I have often had this request since arriving here and immediately started formulating in my mind the reasons; very good ones I might add, that this was just not possible. I have two small kids, I am already teaching 45 kids in the neighborhood and working. I started in with my list, all of which she understood and agreed that indeed I was too busy. I excused myself for a minute to comfort Evy who had fallen down and to fetch banana muffins for us to share. As I walked in the kitchen I offered a quick prayer and immediately felt as if I had been punched in the spiritual gut. Seriously the only way I can describe it. It took my breath away and I sensed that there was more He wanted to do in this situation. What is it Lord? What am I missing?
I patched up Evy and returned and we ate cake and talked about the happenings in the neighborhood. Just before dark she left I told her I would pray about it and if I heard anything from Him I would call her back. We exchanged numbers and said goodbye until we would see each other again, inshallah.
I went back in the house with this heaviness that there was more. More that I was missing but truthfully I just did not want to do anything else. Without me saying a word Jason asked who had come and what it was about and said the whole time I was talking to her he had a real sense there was something that He was calling me to in that situation. I froze. I could not believe it. Jason heard something too. Because mostly Jason encourages me; and it is needed, to reduce the amount of things I am involved in here because after ten years of marriage he knows my tendency to stretch myself thin and thus not be very good at anything. He affirmed that God was speaking to me, to us, and we needed to discern and proceed with fear and trembling and with confidence and hope. We took the next several weeks to pray and ask Him what was next. After all the timing does not really “make sense” to start anything new. Again and again He confirmed to us that there was more to this.
So a month ago I started teaching women English at my home each Wednesday night after work is finished for the day the chores are done. Soon it became clear who should be there and those invited were happy to come along to study, talk, learn, and hear His Word. Most days I am exhausted and drenched in sweat and barely holding it together by the time they arrive at our gate; most a few minutes late due to prayer time, but as I was reminded again last night it is a special time. We share, learn, and continue to build friendships. The first night I spoke all in Kiswahili to be certain everyone understood that I want to help them learn because God spoke to my heart and asked me to help women reach their goals but that we would not tolerate any gossip at all in our group. I promised to shut it down immediately if I heard anyone making fun of anyone else’s ability or lack there of. This was a popular idea since many women here never even begin to try because they are often talked about in the neighborhood and feel shame about never having studied. Among the 10 women that attend there are those who never had any formal education past nursery school and those who finished all formal education here and work for the government. Doro offered to join us to offer support, prayer, and to learn more Kiswahili for which I am very grateful. So the 12 of us give or take a couple each week meet together and sit on a mat in our home to practice and learn English, to laugh at ourselves when we make mistakes (we laugh a lot), to eat cakes, and to retell a story each week from God’s Word. The highlight is getting to see the women act out the story and the motions they chose for different words. It is just us ladies and a few nursing and tired babes and I am excited and expectant as to how He will continue to speak and bless and challenge and show His love to all of us.
God speaks. Right Now, If we only take the time to listen. I am not very good at listening but I am seeking to humble myself (not easy for a girl who tends to depend on herself a lot). And I am learning to hear His voice more in the everyday and it is not because I am a good person or special it is because of who He is and because I have a desperate need to hear Him.
Asking for more courage to listen and respond,