Saturday, September 25, 2010

Seed Pods and Bread Men

It is often the unexpected and unknown events that cause anxiety in life. If we knew when to expect such circumstances and had a good understanding of why they occur, our life would be simplified. We could do more planning, predicting and anticipating and less wondering, worrying and fearing. Ones’ overall stress levels could be cut by at least 50%.

My stress levels, along with my heart rate experienced large spikes Monday night. It was our first night in our new home. We arrived late afternoon to unload our luggage and promptly left to join the Lifesong vision team. The vision team was comprised of Lifesong’s leadership and some friends from around the United States who had come to see the work in Zambia. They were eating supper at a small guest lodge two doors down from the Lifesong school.

After an excellent supper, Luke and I walked back to our house, which is on the grounds of the school. Sleep began to call our names and before long we were climbing into our beads hoping for some good rest. Only a few moments went by before we heard a loud BANG just outside our house. As most of you know, one’s awareness and senses are keener and more alert in new settings. Add to that normal alertness the fact that your new surroundings are in Africa and loud bangs will send your mind reeling into frightful places.

All was silent after the loud bang and then Luke shouted down the hall “Did you hear that?” I replied and said that I did and we tried to work out what it was. Interestingly we had been discussing our convictions on bearing arms right before going to bed. Reality is the greatest test of conviction because that bang made me wish for some kind of weapon.

We did not come to a definite conclusion on the source of our nighttime clatter so I tried to sleep. The bang came a second time, a third and a fourth. They all came with varying amounts of time in between. My hopes for a good night of sleep were gradually fading into oblivion. After about the fifth or sixth bang, I decided the bangs were most likely of a natural cause and that I did not need to worry.

I tried to sleep but at 3:30 a.m. I heard a vehicle come hauling up our driveway. My first thought was “Who in the world did the security guard let into this place?” I knew that Lifesong gets visitors but I was pretty sure that 3:30 a.m. was not normal visiting time, even in Zambia. My heart rate went out the roof but I found the courage to investigate. After trying several windows, I finally found one that gave me a view of the offending vehicle. It was a truck and there were two men walking around. They were carrying something into our school; it was that wonderful, necessary and sustaining food staple: bread.

It was the bread men making their early-morning delivery. Zambian bread men who, as I learned later that day, deliver bread twice a week. Even at that confounding hour of the night,the irony and humor of the situation did not escape me. I have never been so scared by a bread man in my life.

The irony did not cease when I also learned that the loud banging we heard was the result of seed pods falling from a tree onto the tin roof of our house. Apparently these pods, which resemble a large sweet pea in shape and engineering, get hot enough to explode then fall to the ground. In some cases, they fall on our roof creating an impressively loud noise that resembles a gunshot. I have never been so scared by a seedpod in my life.

So you see the unexpected and unknown often cause the greatest stress in our lives. I was worried about guns and bandits; it was actually seedpods and bread men. Maybe as we walk through life, it would behoove all of us to let our faith in the Creator temper our fear and worry regarding the unknown and unexpected. It may turn out that our fears mounted to little more than seedpods and bread men.

Below is a picture of Luke with the offending seedpods. The mean things!

Other than fear-inducing situations caused by harmless people and flora, things are going quite well. It is hard to believe that we have been in Zambia for more than a week. Luke and I are beginning to plug into life at Lifesong Zambia. We have started to get our footing with the different business ventures with which we will be involved. There are a lot of great opportunities, the challenge is figuring out how to grasp them.

Moving to a different country and culture is kind of like being reborn. You have to figure out how everything works. From shopping to laundry, everything becomes a challenge because we have never done it this way. One has to depend on others for a lot of things. Also, a college degree is no help when it comes to adjusting to driving on the left side of the road.

I have already had some great times with the older boys at the school. The other day we had a water fight, which resulted in them drying out their clothes over the charcoal cooker. Today, Luke and I played soccer with the boys who had come to help our maintenance guys with some projects. Hopefully my soccer skills improve in the coming months.

Here are the boys drying out their clothes.

God is good and I feel a peace being here. Please continue to pray that God would be truly glorified in our work. Without him, we are nothing but with his power we can do all things. Praise Jesus for his Spirit and for the truth that he truly is all-knowing. Nothing ever takes God by surprise. Praise Jesus!