Sunday, January 3, 2016

156 Weeks (or 3 years)

One of our first pics in 2013, after moving to the DRC
Apparently, 156 is the magic number. That is the number of weeks that have passed since we have begun to call this place home.  (For the less dramatic, you could call it three years but it just doesn't sound as long.)  This occurred to me while driving through town this week.  We were weaving our way through a sea of cars when two cops on a motorcycle pulled up next to us.  Trying their luck, they pulled on the door handle only to find it locked.  I smiled as they went on their way, looking for an easier target.

It was at that moment that I realized how comfortable I was despite the circumstances.  It occurred to me that the traffic, and the equally treacherous traffic police, was not the only thing that I have become accustomed to navigating.  Just a few minutes before, I had been negotiating a price on some construction work in French.  Moments later I fought off a crowd of young men who demanded, although playfully, payment for guarding my parked car.  They laughed as I spoke my broken Swahili to them and they disbursed.  Going on, I get called boss, chief, "patron," bwana, and many other forms of the word.  Today, I simply respond to people instead of telling them that I'm no boss as I used to.  It's easier that way.

I suppose that is the whole entire reason that we want to adapt in a foreign culture.  Life is easier that way.  I show up over an hour late to most functions and find that I'm usually still the first person there.  Why?  Because it's easier to stay sain when you wait around 30 minutes for people instead of an hour and a half.  There are some things that I do which cause shock and awe to others as who may be visiting.  For example, one day while cruising though town some young men beat rather loudly on the side of my car.  Why? No reason really except to get my attention.  But in this confrontational culture where people yell and scream at each other before ending there conversation with a smile, I jumped out of the car to engage the young men in dialogue.  When I got back in the car, I noticed that my work and witness team from the US was horrified.  On this same note, our children were constantly upset when we first got here.  They would always ask us why everyone shouted so angrily at us and starred at everything we do.  Today, they are used to being in the spotlight and seem less worried about their seemingly hostile environment.

The list could go on and on.  But the truth is that we are just finally getting to the place where this has all become easy.  There are still days when being called, "Mr. White Man" strikes me wrong or when I am struggling to get a reasonable price, but we will make it.  God has been so faithful to us during this time.  We have seen personal and ministerial prayer requests answered in amazing ways.  We have seen growth and maturity in the churches throughout the DR Congo.  And we can't wait to see what the Lord can do (and all the craziness we will be accustomed to) during the next three years to come.  

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