Moz. Musings: Sunshine, Showers, and Sleep

I have a lot of stories - humorous, thought-provoking, scary, nasty - from my trip to Mozambique. The vast majority of them have gone untold, or only roughly recorded in a hastily-typed email. So, I have decided to write down some of my favorites and share them on here in the hopes that someone will enjoy reading them.

My spirits were at a low ebb. The first excitement of living in a foreign country was beginning to wear off, leaving me a little bit homesick. I wondered why I was even here. How was I supposed to minister to people when I didn't speak their language or know their culture?

I was also in poor shape physically. I hadn't been sleeping well at night. Darkness seemed to bring a heavy sense of doom and fear that pressed down on me and made me restless and uneasy. I knew that Satan was attacking me, but I wasn't exactly sure what to do about it.

On top of that, it had been raining almost non-stop for several days, so none of the clothes I'd washed and hung on the clothesline would dry. The rain came in through holes in the roof, making puddles on the floor that teemed with mosquito larva. However, in spite of all the rain, the water pressure was down and the showers weren't working at all. I had been taking cold bucket baths for several days. Individually, the lack of clean, dry clothes, the rain, the bucket baths, the wakeful nights or the doleful thoughts would not have phased me too much (I discovered this from later experience). But put all together, they were gradually sucking away my joy.

I lay down, exhausted, in my bed one evening. Listening to the 'drip, drip' of rain splashing on the floor, I gloomily faced the prospect of yet another wakeful night.

"God," I said, "I just don't think I can handle much more of this. I'm really discouraged right now. All I want is to sleep through the night, then wake up to a hot shower and sunshine. Actually," I quickly amended, "I don't even need sunshine. A good, strong breeze should dry my clothes out well enough."

I had been hearing a lot about praying in faith, but I wasn't really sure what it was supposed to sound or feel like. Was I supposed to believe that God was going to answer all of my prayers the way I asked Him to? That didn't sound right. What exactly was faith, anyway? 'The substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen' was not exactly helpful to me. I was horribly confused. But that night, as I prayed my very simple, very self-centered prayer, I felt as if God was saying, "Trust me. Have faith that I will answer."

'Alright. I will.' I decided, and I was immediately filled with more joy, contentment, and peace than I had felt in days. I quickly fell asleep, and slept through the night. The next morning, I awoke to bright sunshine streaming through my window, and the sound of the shower running. I sat up in bed and looked out the window at my clothes. They were almost dry - flapping in the breeze as the last bits of moisture steamed away.

'God is awesome!' I declared as I got up and headed to the shower.

They were such small things. A sunny day. A shower. Nothing compared to some of my other answered prayers. But somehow, those simple answers stand out to me as some of the brightest moments of my trip. I can see now that God was building me up; showing Himself faithful in small things so that I would be prepared for the bigger tests ahead.