Thursday, November 11, 2010

send the fairy godmother packing

If you had any illusions that mission work, or life in Africa was straight out of a Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale, please throw those out the window.  There is nothing Cinderella about this story.  Sure, coming here for a week or a month as a playmate life might appear a bit Utopian.  But the truth is, some days it just plain sucks to be thousands of miles away from family and friends.  The truth is some days I just get down right frustrated with the kids.  The truth is, trying to control a classroom of 40 plus kids seems like it is not even worth trying at times.  There is nothing exotic or romantic about such a life.  All that wears off in a matter of days after you step of the plane. 

A group of visitors is here this week, and they were asked to sub in classrooms today so that we could conduct a reading seminar for the primary 1 and 2 teachers (1st and 2nd grade).  One of them had her bubble burst when she realized this was not the "disney land village of hope".  She realized that the reality is that the 1st grade class is just down right awful, and that the 2nd graders are not much better.  While it was kind of amusing to me to watch the guests realize just how challenging teaching is around here, I know exactly what it feels like to just want to walk out of the classroom feeling totally defeated.  I know what it feels like to wish you don't care and just be able to walk away. 
But I do.  I do care.  And that is why even when the reality of work here threatens to overwhelm and consume me, I sit outside and look at the stars and pray for the strength for tomorrow, and I know that it will come with the morning, and hopefully the weariness will fade with the night.

Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself: the Lord is my portion, therefore I will wait for him. The Lord is good to those who hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.
Lamentatations 3:22-26

1 comment:

  1. So much for that illusion!

    I guess I also fall for a romantic view of missionary work and sometimes think I'd jump at the chance to quit my job and do something really useful for God and people. But, just today, stopping in the middle of an errand to check on a man who was inebriated, sleeping on an open sidewalk at noon while it's a freezing 28 degrees (I was afraid he was dead); trying to get him to wake up, drink some soup another angel cared enough to offer him and getting him up and moving to a bus stop reminded me that sacrifice isn't always pretty, or convenient, or even enjoyable. After the fact, when you know you've done the right thing, you have a sense of accomplishment, but there's always more to do.

    So many people need help, and some aren't even thankful when you do go out of your way for them. That's what makes us light in a dark world, though, and I admire you shining your light there in Ghana.

    While I don't even want to compare what I try and do, when I can, with what you do every day, I do appreciate your steadfastness at this task and your faith in God, Chelsea. One day, you will see fruit from your efforts, just like you occasionally see little bursts of hope and encouragement.

    God gave you that heart that cares enough to keep trying. You are making us, and your heavenly Father, very proud.

    God bless you and I'll say a special prayer for you tonight.