Well, this week has been good, but challenging in a strange way. We are familiarizing ourselves with the staff here at GECHAAN, policies and procedures in place, and resources available. We have been cleaning out cupboards and closets and offices. Dan and I each have an office space now, we know what is in the pantry, and what supplies are available for ministry.
After the past 2 1/2 years of sorting and organizing our work places and home to transition into ministry here it seems like the obvious next step, we really like to know where things are when they are needed. Here in Gembu there are many resources not available or very expensive, so it is good to know what you have and where it is at.
The Mambilla Plateau is a beautiful place and yesterday as I was “making the rounds”, greeting staff and clients in the clinic, and familiarizing myself with the property a thought occurred to me as I was soaking in the beauty of our surroundings. The picture above is of a passion fruit blossom. Art and Peter the Gardener have planted many very pretty and useful plants and trees on the property. This week we have had fresh bananas, papaya, green beans, and cabbage grown right here on our property. We also have a new favorite food – fried plantain. So good!
Well, if you look at the passion fruit blossom, it is kind of prickly and odd looking, I noticed it right away because it looked different than any of the other flowers. I thought to myself, “that’s kind of like me, I have never felt like I was like other people and I used to be very “prickly”. God has been so awesome to show me that my protective walls hinder me rather than help in ministry. Over the years, He has smoothed my edges, softened my heart, and allowed me to live without fear – He has it covered!!
This is the developing fruit of the passion fruit. It is not ripe yet, it doesn’t have the wonderful flavor that it will have after it ripens. It occurred to me that right now we are kind of like that green passion fruit. We are growing, learning, opening ourselves to new experiences, people, lifestyle but we are not “ripe” yet. We will ripen as we learn, trust, and grow in ministry here.
This week it was so awesome to be able to experience people coming to thank Art for the work that he and Dorothy have done in this whole area. The person that has touched me forever is a mother. 12 years ago Art provided her with the medicine that a mother can take so that she doesn’t pass HIV on to her unborn child. She also started on the medicine, as well as the diet that Dorothy wrote down for her to keep her healthy. Today 12 years later, her meds haven’t changed and she is very healthy and still eating the diet! Her beautiful, healthy daughter was with her. She cried and said, “thank you for saving my life and my daughters’ life”. Here you need to save their physical lives before you can even begin to talk about Jesus saving their hearts. I truly hope and pray that we will ripen in the way that touches lives and the community in this way.
My prayer requests for this week are this: Please pray that God will make it clear how to proceed with ministry here in Gembu. With the US AID funding gone we have much less funds to do work here and we really feel that possibly a quality care hospital is the best way to touch the community in addition to the HIV/testing, treating, and counselling . Please pray for wisdom, funding, and relationships with staff and the community here.