This week I've worked on:
1. Clearing under the Cashew and Mango trees with a machete on the west side of the Dispensaire. I'm slow with a machete, but God has been helping me, and with Boaz's help on Friday -- we've cleaned up a modestly encouraging amount of land.
2. Taking care of the Baby that has come under Boaz and LaRae's care while LaRae was getting things in town. I don't have any experience in caring for infants (she's about 1 month old), but I've discovered some interesting things in the process of trying to accustom my clumsy hands to the care of such a fragile thing:
A) Changing cloth diapers isn't too bad.
B) Baby seemed to calm down and sleep better when I set her beside my computer which was softly playing Brandenburg #5!
3. Studying french.
4. Cleaning up a 1969 vintage baby incubator. I prayed that God would help the machine to work after I plugged it in, and miraculously enough, the machine's glow-light shone reassuringly and heat began to slowly radiate from the element! With a little electrical tape to cover some exposed wires, we now have an operating incubator for the maternity ward. Praise God!
5. My current housemate (Kintino Biaye) contracted a bad case of Malaria during the week. I was up with him at 2:00 AM one morning to go to rout the nurse out of bed and to get some ampules of Quinine-Resorcine ("Paluject") out of the pharmacy. He spent the rest of the night and a day in the Dispensaire connected to an IV, and now is doing better. Keep him in your prayers!
6. Working on weeding, trellising, and watering in the Garden. Continued experimentation with Neem tree pesticides. Garden time makes me happy!
Here are two lessons that I've thought of this week:
1. Boaz and LaRae have taught me a lot about thinking about the sustainability of the various plans you set in place in any project. As I worked in the fields this week, I realized that -- as much as I believe that I am making a contribution -- the grass and shrubs will inevitably grow back when I am gone. As I reflected on this, I thought of the only truly sustainable thing that we can do in life: make relationships that lead others to a transformative relationship with Christ.
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.” Romans 1: 16-17 English Standard Version
2. It is a gift to give. This is a hard paradox to express, but here's a crack at it.
When we give to receive, we will not receive enough to keep on giving. When we give without expecting to receive, Christ, the author of this otherwise impossible act, will fill us overwhelming satisfaction and joy.
Some things I'm especially thankful for this week:
1. God's love and protection, his judgements and mercies.
2. My wonderful, wonderful, fiancée Martina!
3. The chance to work with my hands.