Time is a relative term in Africa. I’ve heard that in the U.S. we have watches and no time, in Africa there are no watches and plenty of time. As several people asked how they could pray for us as we were departing the U.S. the first thing that came to mind was for our ability to shift into African time, not only physically, but emotionally, spiritually and mentally as well. The physical adjustment has been smoother than we were anticipating, ironically for the same reason that it is tougher in the other areas. Since we were so busy, (along with the many others who were the hands and feet of Christ to us during our last week at home) packing not only for this trip but our belongings within our home, we were able to shift our sleeping schedule by sleeping very little our last night before we left. This fact coupled with purposeful flight sleeping times, not to mention the prayers, made the physical adjustment fairly painless. Because of the timing of the sale of the house, we have been in the fast pace of our culture on steroids. The temptation here is for this accelerated pace, which feels so normal and ingrained more deeply than one might realize, to allow us to become easily frustrated as we wait. The ironic part is the fast pace of our last week in the United States, made our first week here’s theme: “Hurry up and wait.” So as the temptation arises from time to time as we might sit to wait on a driver, be at a standstill for over an hour in traffic, etc, I am reminded of Psalm 46:10 He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Verse 11 goes on to remind me, “The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.” I also must remember these verses as I experienced the opposite of what I’ve just described above today as we were in our second day of the medical clinic at Bethany to the outlying villages. Here in Uganda, you have “Break Tea” at about 10:30am and lunch about 1pm. So we closed up the clinic and walked to the home which was providing us lunch. Meanwhile about 75 people continued to wait patiently to be seen by a medical provider, have lab work done, or get their prescription while the clinic was closed over our hour for lunch.
Jay commented to me, how tough it was to sit and eat knowing so many were waiting on us. What these beautiful people provided me today was a living example of waiting patiently. Even with all of it, they extended gratitude to us upon their departure from the clinic. Humbling! We will post a diary type blog of day 2 of clinic in Bethany soon!