A couple of weeks ago, I was praying and thinking about my role here in Tarime. Up until recently, I had spent most of my time just getting by, trying to figure out the language, how to get from one place to another, and how to use my skills to assist those around me. In doing all of this though, it still did not feel enough. Of course, I will never do enough to solve all the problems here. In the same manner, I alone can never do enough in the U.S. to solve all the problems, but I am referring to a different feeling. It was a feeling that I was placed here in Tarime for a reason, and I was not fulfilling that reason. Instead, I was simply living. I was going about my daily routine, helping here and there. During this time, I continued to have a gnawing felling (that would be the Holy Spirit) that there was more; God had more in store for me. This is all to say that as I was praying I realized that the things I was doing were great, but none of them were directly advancing the Kingdom. I was not teaching about God or encouraging others in their walks with Him. I was simply “doing good.” I was being a Martha, busy with everything that needed to be done and forgetting to sit down and share the most important aspect of my life here, Jesus.
After this realization, I prayed, asking God to lead me in the right direction. He prompted me to start a girls Bible study at my house. I spoke about this in my last blog. Thank you all for praying for this gathering. It went wonderfully and this past Friday things got even better! However, let me start in the beginning. The last Friday in July, Rachel (the other missionary) and I invited eleven high-school-aged girls to our house to spend the night. Rachel and I prepped the house Friday morning, putting sheets on the beds, pulling out more mattresses, hanging mosquito nets everywhere, and prepping ourselves to lead. I had originally prayed about what book of the Bible God wanted me to share with the girls, and Ruth immediately popped into my head. So I opened Ruth and began reading. In the past, I have read Ruth with the mindset of learning about love and waiting for God to provide the right man in His right timing. Therefore, at first, I was reluctant to study Ruth. I wanted to go deeper than mere human relationships and boys. I wanted them to see who they were in Christ, strengthening and encouraging their relationships with Him first before we discussed men. (I am glad God knows His Word better than I do, because Ruth cannot be a more perfect book to study with these girls!) As I started studying, God began opening my eyes to see a completely new aspect of Ruth that I had never before realized. Ruth is a woman of confidence! She has other amazing characteristics, but this characteristic stuck out the most to me. Godly confidence is what many of these girls are lacking. In this society, women are expected to marry at a young age, begin having children immediately, and work the rest of their lives. Many girls are married by age 13/14 and soon begin having families. Dowries are still common as is FGM (female genital mutilation). In schooling, many girls settle with making “Cs” instead of striving to make “As” because simply going to school at their age is a feat in their culture. While the Angel House girls are better off than many of their female peers due to GrassRoot’s ministry and work, I still find that many of them seem to think their worth is found in marriage and children. As I continued reading and preparing for the study, I saw that Ruth was constantly going against her Moabite culture, choosing to follow the one God, leaving behind any hope of remarrying and having children, and taking steps in an unknown direction based on pure faith and confidence in God. Ruth had Godly confidence that the Lord would carry her. All she had to do was walk in faith.
The study, so far, has gone wonderfully. Most of the girls continue to respond and ask questions. However, just like any group of teenage girls, some are more interested in using the computer or chatting with their friends, but I will continue to pray for these girls to have an insatiable desire to know more of the Lord. During our Bible study we also have started teaching the girls worship songs we sing in America. Meanwhile they are also teaching us Swahili worship songs. This has been an awesome experience and one of the things I enjoy the most! Last week, Rachel and I offered to pray over each girl individually. Because Angel House is home to all of these girls, it is easy for them to feel like “Angel House girls” instead of individuals who are separate from the other girls. Therefore, Rachel and I wanted to be able to pray for the girls individually since they are individuals. Although, lightening didn’t strike, thunder didn’t pound, and the earth didn’t shake with my prayers, the Holy Spirit was there. I know God is using me in mighty ways and that our prayers were heard. Each day I pray that these girls wake up and move in God-confidence so that all His dreams for them may be realized and achieved.
One last thing, I must apologize for taking so long to write another blog. Although wonderful things are happening here, many times I come home frustrated. The language barrier is a huge challenge and very frustrating at times. There are also many things that can easily distract me from my purpose here. These distractions are different than at home, but they are distractions all the same. As my time here continues, I am realizing no matter where I go or what I do there are always going to be distractions. Somehow, I pray that I learn how to quickly identify distractions and rid them of my daily life so that I can succeed in accomplishing all God has planned for me. I have been slow to write simply because I want to be real and honest but not complaining. Thank you all for your patience and prayers. I pray that God continually changes me, increasing my patience and understanding when things around me seem so frustrating!