We have completed just over three weeks here in Lubumbashi and it is still obvious that we are new here. I don't know how long it will take before people stop looking at us and thinking, "Rookies!" but I'll be excited when that day comes. Being new can be hard. Language difficulty, cultural confusion, and a general feeling of being overwhelmed are all a part of being new. We pray for the Lord's grace and peace as we deal with the opportunities that the Lord has given to us in this time.
Now that I mentioned the hard part in brief, I can say what I really want to say. That is, being new can be great. Being new can be exciting and fun. Being new can allow you to lean even harder on God and fellow believers for the things that we are used to doing ourselves. In this way, being new can be quite pleasant and can build your faith! There are many examples that we could use, but I think there is one that sums them all up the best. Earlier this week, the wife of one of the local pastors went into labor. This was to be their 9th child. As the labor progressed, it became clear that there was more than one baby making its way into the world. After several hours of labor and surgery, three beautiful baby girls were born. The first born was named Jillian and the second was named Macy. We were shocked and honored that the family would choose to name two of these new lives after members of our family. After all, we had only known them for less than three weeks. In this place, where people are bound together by communities, it is customary to name a child after visitors / guests and is considered a great honor. How much more do you need to feel welcomed after that? In this way we are invited, even as Rookies, to share in the joy of new life and to be a part of the community to which we would otherwise be strangers.
Already, there have been many people who have loved and helped us as we have gotten started with our new life and ministry here on the Africa Middle Field. We are so thankful for all of those who have helped us as we have started this new chapter of our lives. Being new is great. Eventually, the newness is bound to wear off. Eventually, we will get the hang of things...even the language. But my hope and prayer is that we will never forget what it means to rely on God and others and to share in love and live with fellow believers. Its good to be NEW!