I feel like I spend a lot of my life in Tanzania waiting.
|Teaching pastors to read their Safwa language, |
while we wait for others to arrive for a meeting.
On Saturday I was invited to a meeting of local church leaders in order to share about our work. I turned up on time with my colleague, Nsolelo, at 10am. There was no sign of anyone at the Moravian church where the meeting was to be held so we went to the pastor’s house where one other person was waiting. We were given something to eat (dry bread and cooking bananas) and drink (black tea) and we continued to wait and chat. Others then began to arrive, so we migrated to the meeting room and over an hour after we were supposed to start the meeting finally kicked off. After I had spoken I sat through the rest of the meeting, which proved to be totally irrelevant, until it ended well after my usual lunch time. On this occasion, as on many others, I just had to hope and pray that it wasn’t a waste of time and that God could somehow use the small contribution I made for His purposes. I had to remind myself that relationships are important and you never know what may come of a meeting like that.
Let me take you to a another event – this time a Sunday school teacher training workshop. I knew we wouldn’t start on time the first day, so I wasn’t too worried that even I, as the teacher, turned up a little late. The invitation letter stated that the workshop would begin at 9am, but it was around 10.30am by the time we got going, and still not everyone had arrived. I hoped that on the second day the participants might not be so late, but the pattern repeated itself until the end of the workshop and I just tried to keep the one or two who were on time (meaning only half-an-hour late) entertained with crafts and games until we could start properly! (All good training for teaching children, who are also usually late for Sunday school).
Or there is the seminar we were teaching at on Friday, which of course started late, but that was to be expected. The real waiting began after the meeting was over, when we were asked to stay for food (which takes a long time to cook when you are using wood as your fuel) and then, just as I hoped we could leave, I found out we had to wait for the host-pastor to come (who hadn’t attended the morning’s meeting) so that we could greet him before we left.
And right now I am waiting – waiting for plans to fall into place that depend on other people meeting and making plans, which they are in no hurry to do, as for them it is just something to get round to when they have time, while for me my very work depends on it.
I feel like I have learned more about living life day by day and being patient through these experiences, but at times it is just incredibly frustrating and l feel like I am wasting my time. Also there is something strangely tiring about waiting – I am much more tired after a day of sitting in pastors’ houses or in meetings, not doing or saying much, than I am after a day of energetic teaching. So, if you need a break from the hustle and bustle of life in the ‘West’, come and visit me and we can sit and wait together :-)
“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31 (KJV)
This is the kind of waiting I would rather experience in my life, of eternal benefit. May God help me to wait upon Him, and to learn to wait patiently here!