We’ve been back in Pemba for about a month. Back off that little plane and into the hot dusty night, and into our little home down the bumpy road.
I arrived into a season on learning about faith. If I have a day where I’m thinking nothing is really working out then faith is my spot to return to. Faith is easy to understand. You don’t see something, but you believe in it. I’m drinking coffee right now, and I don’t have to have any faith at all to know it’s there. But if it disappeared I’d have to have faith for it to come back. (Which it easily could as my one-year-old daughter is a huge fan of stealing everything from my bedside table.)
Faith – the tool I pull out every day.
I need faith on Wednesday nights. When my house is flooded with eight boys, bringing with them shouting and laughter, all the while trickling little bits of yellow rice behind them. Honestly it’s fun but it’s so tiring, all I want to do every week is put on a DVD like they ask, and send them off to bed on time. I need faith to believe we can creatively spend each night in his presence, that their hearts can heal. I need faith when I ask them the deep questions and all I get is silence. I need faith to believe I can reach them, that God will reach them.
I need faith on Friday mornings, when we meet with 15 incredible mothers, who are setting up a small business. I need faith when I discover a couple of them are making about 8 pence a day and we are all trying our best, and why isn’t it looking any better than this? I need faith. God cares about these beautiful women and their hunger more than I ever will, and he’s releasing his abundance through our lives. He is. I’m going to be standing there when I really see it.
I need faith every single day to learn this language Makua, because I feel Jesus has given me a beautiful, special task and the truth is I don’t feel like doing it. I felt him whisper more times than I could count to learn this African language, and it is challenging to say the least. I mean how many ‘k’s do you really need in one language? I need faith because this language is crazily hard, and it is mostly very dissatisfying to sit in the dirt stuttering ‘k…k…kina…’ compared to solving the world’s problems. I need faith to believe this mountain is about to leap, because I’m acting on my mustard seed.
Then glory invades my life in those beautiful holy glimpses. And I don’t need to choose to believe anymore because I am seeing. Those moments are God’s generosity poured out.
Like a few Monday mornings ago, when I arrived with a tired body and a weak offering to the church. I skipped across human poo, a rat and a lizard to pee in the latrine before sitting amongst dust, biting ants and beautiful women on the floor. And after we worshipped I shared in grammatically-horrific Portuguese a simple idea that God would heal our hearts if our hearts were sick. And they get sick, for example, if one of our children has died. And so many women raised their hands to say, yes, my child died. And they stood and some wept, and God came with such a presence of holy, tender love that I was blown away. And I think – a sweet relief from needing to believe. I see.
And I see when one more mama comes to me asking to join the business group. Because she doesn’t want to sit bored in a hut receiving beans for free. She wants to work and she believes it can happen. And I don’t need faith that much in that moment, because I am seeing what I dream of.
I see again when I can genuinely speak in Makua for about a minute and a half, and I know doors are opening in all the hearts around me because the people just changed. Like the aggressive disabled men who shout requests for things all day long start to laugh when I speak to them in their language. And I think God you are clever for asking me to do the small, seemingly insignificant. I see the fruit of what I long for – open doors to beloved hearts.
Faith gets its reward. Love wins its prize. “Let us not become weary in doing good, for we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6 v 9. I want that harvest. So much. I want that sea of beautiful faces to know his love, to give themselves radically for his love and to be a shining light in their village. I want his harvest, so I’ll use his tools.