How is January in Dar? Well, I teach a lot, I grade a lot, I run a lot, and I sweat profusely during all of the aforementioned activities. That about sums it up. I remember hearing words like “sweltering” and “humidity” during some bygone days of my life, and vaguely thought that might be unpleasant. The words take on new life to me right now. The power, during the season when it’s most desperately needed, is out about every other day. I’ve been dreading this “hot season” ever since I heard horror stories about it when I first got here. All of the horror stories have proved true. It’s truly miserable. It’s hard to describe when you’re living in it, but maybe I could better describe the way I feel when I come OUT of it. For example, the power was out all day last Thursday. I plodded through the day in slow motion. I tried not to bite anyone’s head off. After all, it’s not THEIR fault. I also tried to keep from having anyone else bite my head off. After all, it’s not MY fault either. We’re all miserable, students, teachers, and administration alike, although the students do seem quite a bit more adapted than those in charge of them. I tried to grade papers and plan at the end of the day, but ended up with a splitting headache and my face planted firmly down on the desk. I literally couldn’t form one coherent thought without searing pain. I dragged myself home, plopped down on my bed, and finally conceded to use of the battery-powered fan about an inch from my face so I could try to nap. Hours using this fan are precious, because the batteries are imported from America and when they’re gone, they’re gone.
When the power finally came back on around 6 or 7 pm, my AC whirred to life and the temperatures in my room began to drop. The lights bathed my room with a bright cheerfulness. Instantaneously, I began to feel alive. I could now sit without sweating, but even better, I now I had the will to MOVE. I could finally THINK straight. Best of all, I didn’t hate everyone in the whole world. The irritability had VANISHED! It’s like that great part in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe where Aslan makes his grand appearance in the White Witch’s castle and starts touching her stone statues. The color spreads throughout their bodies, and they are finally alive. That’s how it feels when the heat goes away.
Even so, there is the relief that comes through living something you’ve been worried about for far too long. The fact that I’m in the middle of it makes me excited that there will be in an end in sight. Hopefully in about two months. Meanwhile, I plod along and soak in every fleeting moment of coolness that comes on an unexpected breeze or a day with AC when the power is working. The other times, I spend most of my time dreaming about a day when the AC will work.
There are many things to be thankful for. Sometimes I feel that I’ve been far more blessed here than I have been at any other point in my life. There are so many people who I’ve come to know and dearly love. There is so much excitement in hearing about the ministries of the families that I am serving. Last Saturday night, I was invited to a dinner for all of the teachers of the kids in the Larmey family, a precious, unique, and inspiring family who run Young Life for all of Africa. I am so grateful for this family, as they carefully planned, prepared, and served a five course sit down meal, complete with speeches and prayers from each of the kids for their teachers. Even more inspiring is when I got to hear from Steve and Dyan about their ministry around this continent. I found myself wanting to take notes when they spoke of Africans coming to know the Lord through sports camps, and being discipled and later becoming disciplers of new believers. They told about Maasai warriors coming to know Christ and leading others to Christ. They told of kids in Zanzibar, an island that is 99% Muslim, coming to know their Savior. I wish I knew all the statistics. I wish I could remember the stories well enough to relate them. However, I can tell you without hesitation that God is at WORK on this continent!
You see, I had started to get tunnel vision. Things here are starting to become routine and “normal.” My students are my mission field, just as much as in the States. However, it’s easy to forget that a large part of the ministry at HOPAC is enabling missionaries like the Larmey family to do their work well, because they know their children are getting a good education. I don’t always hear about all of ministries that HOPAC is supporting, mostly due to the fact that missionaries are busy doing God’s work. However, having the clouds part just for a few minutes and seeing the grand scheme of things even briefly is inspiring.
I’ve officially reached the halfway point in my work here. I’ve always thought the halfway point was the most difficult part of a race. There isn’t the anticipation and adrenaline of the beginning, nor is there the excitement and inspiration of the last lap. God is good in giving me little reminders here and there to do my work well, and to remember the importance of what He’s called me to do. He’s given me little splotches of coolness when I need it most. I am tired. I am hot. But mostly, I am grateful. And when he’s forced the last little bit of sanctification that’s going to come out of this season, let the rainy season come.