As a follow up to my last blog post about Kidogo Burtha I wanted to write about my’07 Camry that is waiting for me at home. After about two days of driving Kidogo Burtha I was driving along and thinking about how I was going to kiss my car when I got home. It was then that I realized there may be a difference between going somewhere to do ministry and going as a missionary. As long as you go as a missionary you tend to stay outside the culture. Some of our conversations in the very short time we have been here have included things we miss about America, the biggest one probably being the food choices. We haven’t yet been able to become part of the culture, though being the only white people in town may have something to do with that.
Now, as Christians we are called to be a set apart community that is a light to the world. However, right now I feel separate from all of culture, not just the “non-Christian” parts. When you work in a church in the US there are certain standards and expectations that are placed upon you above and beyond the expectations of the culture and I will be the first to say that I don’t think America displays a whole lot of Christian values in mainstream culture. But there seems to be a difference between holding to a different way of life and not becoming part of the place you live (and having no intention of doing so). At this point in time I struggle with how to become part of a culture that has a different language, customs, and standards for living, but every time I think of “me” and “them” I am leaving out “us.” It takes us to be able to do ministry. It takes Anna’s help with the schools. It takes listening to Mwita and his insight into the kids work habits. It takes Michael and his understanding of what is required for a good education. It takes Frank to help us with the local government. It takes the many people I have met thus far that really have a heart for the kids at Angel House and just want them to succeed, in ways beyond what these people have been able to do themselves (all of those mentioned are Tanzanians). Anna, who is hesitant to take on high, official leadership roles, fully believes that a Tanzanian president can come out of Angel House.
So, is missing my car a bad thing? I don’t think so, but is wishing Tarime looked or felt like Cookeville, Jackson, or Medina (some of the places I have called home)? Yes, because Tarime is special all of its own accord. There is much ministry to be done here, in a way that is special to this place and these people. The one common factor is God’s faithfulness to his children, of which I have already met several. Our prayer is always to let God shine through and for us to become just part of the team that nurtures all that Angel House is. I would ask that your prayer be our ability in God to do so.
“To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might same some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.”
~1 Corinthians 9: 22-23