Thursday, April 24, 2014

What Does Tasha Do All Day?...Part 2

In my last post, I had mentioned that I wrote a letter to one of our churches who had asked I speak a little about my personal call to ministry here in Africa. There was such a positive outpouring from what I wrote that I felt it was something that was meant to be shared with everyone. The first part of the letter talked a little about my personal call to ministry and where is stands right now. In the second part of the letter (found below), I wrote down what my day to day life literally looks like. Please feel free to ask questions!
I wake up with baby girl and nurse her. After nursing, I make breakfast. How long this takes depends on if there is any electricity or not. If there is no electricity, I will use the propane stove. Breakfast is usually eggs (from our chickens, or local, or a mix), fresh fruit, and sometimes local bread. If there is no electricity and it is a very hot morning, we will do yogurt and fruit (otherwise, it will spoil).
After breakfast, we must clear the table and wipe the floor down or ants will fill the floor very quickly. All dishes to the sink. Then, baby girl and I will try to do playtime.
If there is electricity, I will sneak out to start washing laundry (which takes about 3 hours to wash), or hang laundry (indoor to keep flies away), or filter water so that we have fresh water available and ready in bottles (which takes a while).
If there is no electricity and it is not too muggy outside (too many mosquitos), sweet pea and I will go outside to walk around the yard. We also feed and water the rabbits and gather eggs (if the guinea fowl is not sitting on them).
Lunch time comes during the hottest part of the day, so lunch becomes less desirable to make in the heat, but I manage. Especially if I have to cook it on a hot propane eye! After lunch is naptime. I make Adah wash her hands and feet and then I will nurse her to sleep. If there is no electricity, this becomes a difficult chore, holding and rocking a sweaty baby. During sweet pea’s naptime, I will try to do some Bible time before napping myself.
After baby girl gets up, we do more chores – sometimes stuffing the cloth diapers, sometimes ironing (things get pretty rough when they are dried indoors), sometimes bleaching and rinsing off fruits and vegetables, sometimes washing and bleaching dishes, sometimes folding laundry, and sometimes prepping our dinner. All of this depends on if there is electricity or not (or water). On the days with no electricity, I get a break from work, but not from the heat.  Some days, baby girl and I just sit in the dark bedroom with a small fan watching Sesame Street trying to stay cooled off.  If there has been no electricity all day, we have to run the generator to keep the refrigerator cool, and we might get to turn on one AC unit!!!
Usually right before daddy gets home, it will be beginning to cool down and we will go walking up and down the street, greeting people. But we always dress up in our skirts because you always go out in your best dressed.
Once daddy is home we talk and play for a while before starting supper. After dinner, we make sure to clean up the floor or roaches will eat the leftovers in the middle of the night. Then we will either have a bath or a thorough hand and feet washing. After we brush our teeth, we do book time, then prayer time, and then nursing (which is pretty miserable with a hot sweat baby and no electricity).
At the end of some days, not much is accomplished, but things take twice as long to do here. Like if I want to boil chicken, I have to use filtered water, which requires filtering, which requires electricity to take from a working faucet. If I want to eat the apple that was just dropped off by the vegetable lady; I have to let it soak in bleach water for 20 minutes. Then I have to scrub them. Then I have to rinse them in filtered water and thoroughly dry them.  Not a quick process.  If I run  low on laundry, it takes at least 3 hours to wash in the European machines (which are half the size of American ones), and then wait for a day for them to dry (inside or flies will lay eggs on them).

So, welcome to Africa! ;-) 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

What Does Tasha Do All Day?...Part 1

I had recently been asked to share a little of what I do everyday. So, I wrote a letter to one of our churches talking about my personal call to ministry in Africa (part 1) and my daily life/chores (part 2). There was such a positive outpouring from what I wrote that I felt that it was something that was meant to be shared with everyone. Below you will find the first part of my letter concerning my ministry in Africa. I will later share with you what I do on a daily basis. Please feel free to comment!
A Summary on the Ministry of Motherhood in the Mission Field of Africa

Before coming to Africa, I had such grand ideas of what sorts of missions I would be involved in. Mission Aviation Fellowship is very open in the different types of ministries the spouses can join. I thought of teaching women to become self-sufficient so that they could take better care of their health; I thought of teaching English to women using the Bible so they can get better jobs; I thought of working with children, feeding those who are hungry. I am many grand ideas, but God had other plans for me.

Once arriving in Africa, I had the opportunity to meet the spouses and share in their ministries. One woman helps with a group called “The Tabitha Project.” They take women who worked on the streets (as current prostitutes or soon-to-be headed in that direction) and they teach them the Bible and forgiveness as well as a local trade (such as sewing or doing hair). Another wife volunteers at a local orphanage, holding the children and providing them with the personal attention they desire and lack due to overcrowding. Yet another wife has become involved with the “Matadi Center” which is similar to the Tabitha Project, taking at-risk women and children and giving them an opportunity to provide for themselves by learning a trade. All of these ministries appealed to me in so many ways. I even had a woman ask me to teach her English. All of the grand ideas I had were laid before me. What does a girl do with so many choices? PRAY!!!

I took it all to the Lord. I began praying in earnest and with eagerness, telling God how much each of these ministries would be a perfect fit for me - the skills I can provide; the testimonies I can share; the joy I have in my heart. Like the pieces to a puzzle all the opportunities were waiting in a box and I asked God if I could begin sorting them.  But God told me very clearly, “no, not yet.” I thought for sure God meant there was another opportunity waiting for me around the corner. So I waited. But nothing happened. I prayed again to God, crying out, “Here I am, Lord. Use me!” But God told me very clearly, “no, not yet.” Why was God denying me my chance to shine?

In the midst of my prayers, I was doing a women’s Bible study called “Discerning the Voice of God.” That Bible study was an absolute God-send for me. Working through this study I was able to more clearly hear God’s voice and discern his desires for me at this time in my life. God has asked me to take time to learn the culture and maybe even learn the local language called Lingala. He feels that my ministry is my daughter. While I was seeking self-gratification through ministries to help others, I was not looking before me at the chance to help my daughter grow closer to the Lord. I understand that there are many seasons in life, and perhaps my time to get involved in a local ministry will be soon, but not now.

While I want to share with everyone all the “great things” I am “accomplishing” by teaching locals all about God, I cannot. But I can tell you how my daughter faithfully bows her head before every meal and waits for me to pray. She even eagerly adds “Amen” to the end. I want to tell you about all the people I have met through local ministries, but I cannot. Instead, I can tell you about all the people I have met by taking walks with my daughter, who shines her little smile and wins the hearts of the locals. She even eagerly greets each person with a hand shake and says, “├ža va?” to ask how they are in greeting.  I want to share with you all about people I have begun to teach English using a French Bible, but I cannot. Instead, I can tell you all the new English and French words my daughter has learned.

There was a time when I felt disappointed with the idea that I was not out there, helping people every day. But I have to be honest; God has shown me the error of my ways and taught me an important lesson.  The ministry of motherhood is a very important ministry that God has called me to do and I am eagerly taking this on with as much joy as I would have for any local ministry.