I can hardly decide what to write at the moment. Its past midnight here and I’ve hardly had the time to process through any of what we’ve experienced in the last 48 hours. We have literally had something on a schedule from 9:30am until at least 11pm.
I suppose its relatively quick, but I’ve overcome the shame of being a white skinned standout today. Instead of engaging in all the staring, I’ve found it quite easy to just be myself, shake many hands, hug many children and go so far as to dance in a choreographed group routine at a youth gathering. I guess that’s to say that the culture shock, at least in the city, has dissipated. Who knows how I’ll feel once we go out to the bush, but we’re all just people and I’m just me and so far that seems to be going alright.
The best way to keep you informed is to say that we’ve met with several individuals, couples and today (Sunday) church gatherings to eat, pray, love and encourage one another.
Eat: We’ve had goat soup (including testicles, which really aren’t bad), tiny oysters, tilapia in red sauce over rice, amazing curry and delicious fruit. I did lose my breakfast at the hotel yesterday morning and the best conclusion I can come to is that my stomach did not appreciate my taking the malaria pill before food consumption. Live and learn. I have had much to eat since then and all has been well.
Pray: Wow. I don’t even know where to start. We prayed with an incredible couple from outside Banjul who traveled several hours to come see us. There hearts to serve God and their humility was unbelievable. We’re going to try to see them again and hopefully stay with them a night. We prayed for a dear baby this morning from a village that was believed to have colic. She also happened to have some sort of fetish beaded jewelry around her neck which we asked kindly if the mother would be willing to remove. She agreed and we explained how many of these ‘traditions’ often carry curses. The people of Africa understand as witch doctors are common and the power of darkness is an understood reality here. The baby was the sweetest and we are believing for she and mamma’s healing. We prayed for another girl with joint pain and another with a stomach ulcer. These people see healings occur quite frequently, because they often have no other options then Jesus when it comes to medication.
Love: Friendships are beautiful, especially when they can happen so immediately. We spent time with a YFC couple who were two years in to their marriage. We had dinner at a fun pizza place (so cheap) and heard the story of how they came to be married and shared ours as well. They’ve asked to have dinner with us when we return from the village. I was able to share with a group of young girls about living their dreams and not being ashamed of the desires in their hearts. “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” – Psalm 37:4. It was so fun to hear them talk about the occupations they hope to have and the dreams they have for their little, but talented dance group.
Encouragement: We met a lovely Gambian couple who has a two year-old angel with an enlarged head and has had to undergo many surgeries in her young age. They had over the top medical bills that they owed in New Zealand and watched God provide for it all. We asked them to pray for us, because their faith and understanding of God’s goodness was beyond any understanding that we’ve ever had and we wanted the blessing. We had lunched made for us by a beautiful woman who has been a widow for 3 years. Despite her missing her husband, she has an incredible relationship with the Lord that has come from complete dependency on Him. C had opportunity to share about his relationship with his father to a large group of young people. He eloquently expressed how the disappointments he felt through his earthly father were found redeemed through the love of His Heavenly Father – people responded very well.
It is AMAZING what you can learn and experience through story. People’s stories are the best gifts to receive…I’ve even asked for a few to be emailed as we didn’t have time to hear it all. I want to go on about this particular thing, but I’m quite tired at the moment so the rest of this may be stream of conscious.
I love little black children and more than ever I want one. I love the joy that permeates this continent, it is contagious and refreshing. The young men here are mature beyond their years and it is a great example to us Westerners. Everyone here is beautiful – their skin, their smiles, their countenance, their talents and dreams – its incredible. I still want to see a monkey. I’ve made friends with a goat that lives on the hotel property. I’m not sure why he lives here, but I love him and I love all the little kitties who run around at night. Our friends and C say I’m going to catch rabies, but I think that’s impossible with all the immunizations I have :D. I’m thankful for the high school I attended, because they gave me some soul to my dance so that even though I am a white, I can still hang (at least a little) with the Africans. I still haven’t made it to the beach, but I know I’ll see it soon. We had the nicest coffee/tea server this morning by the name of Aladdin. He is the best coffee/tea server in the world and will ensure that you are incredibly happy so long as they don’t run out of coffee. I love who I chose to spend the rest of my life with and am continuously blown away that I get to live this life with him. Thank you Jesus.
Sending our love x