"Jeremytring" aims to give you a snapshot of my year in Northern Moçambique. As the title may indicate, I only try, I don't always give the results desired. Nevertheless, I hope to keep trying and eventually grow and this is what I hope to communicate, growth.
I am absolutely delighted in my relationship with God! I also love my friends and I want all of you to enjoy the deep contentment that I have. I know we have had great conversations in the past and hope you guys will keep engaging me in this dialogue.
The goal of this blogg is to provide reasons for believing God exists and cares about you. I will try to keep each post short and clear, but my aim is that this be one place where you can find the best explanations on some of life's toughest questions.
It has been three months since I updated my blog, because three months ago I came down with malaria giving me a couple of days to do nothing. Needless to say, since then, it has been very eventful!!!! I can't write about it all nor would you want to read it all, but in view of loving all those who may read this blog it seems best to write something.
What to write though!? What do you want to hear about? You see thats what I don't know, so maybe I will just write about a whole bunch of things and you can read what most interests you.
A brutish summary looks like this. Working 7 days a week for two months, doing a feasibility study with the first Mozambican Banker (after the Colonial war he was the first Mozambican to be a director of the central bank), helping found a Credit Cooperative in Pemba, trying to figure out how to be an assistant to my boss, troubleshooting computer problems, being the driver, buying the supplies, trying to translate the annual report, planning for and attending the Annual General Assembly of Caixa Nampula!
I waxed the floor once, broke the door down twice, and got incense so it smells nice. (I rythmed!) I also got a motorcycle to cruise around on.
I took five months but I have many friends now, and they are all quite amazing people. I need to explain, though, why I think it took five months. First, I don't have any time to chill because work is so crazy. Second, and related to the first point, one co-worker is super hard to get along with. It felt like I wasn't a co-worker but an object to do things for said person. This made work really frustrating because beyond having to work my butt off doing stuff beyond my experience this co-worker was making work a depressing place.
Third, and most importantly, I mistakenly extrapolated what was wrong at work to the rest of my friendships. More specifically, I put most of my focus and energy into my work situation and I am telling you I have tried EVERYTHING, by that I mean I have tried to bite my pride and be a part of the solution in every way I can think of. Nevertheless, little changed after the many things I tried. This lead me to think I had to walk on egg shells with everyone thus not being able to really have friendships. Finally though, I realized that putting more energy into the work environment wasn't the solution and I needed to try hard to see everyone apart from the sour apple that was so nearby everyday.
Deep Life stuff:
All of the above, and more, has lead me to pray a prayer I have never prayed before. I have finally prayed, "God, if it's not to feel the joy of this place, let me be content with You as I enter the pain of it."
It isn't that joy is non-existent here, it's just that pain and suffering seem to be a more constant reality. Sickness stings; easily stealing a child from the mother's arms and the elderly from their family's veranda. Poverty shackles; limiting a youths dreams, enslaving a women's power, and cuffing a man's diligent hands. Pain has taught to distrust under each smile. Thus wives are blamed for their husband's death, lies are told to co-workers, and money is stolen because the pain of poverty's chains and sickness's sting is a day away.
I hope to continue to pray this prayer, knowing that my God is better than the joy of a place. He is better because He can hug Mama Lucia after she has lost her husband and gets blamed for his death from his family. They say she caused his death through witchcraft, but it was actually caused by high blood pressure from his drinking problem. God can give Mama Olinda the joy to dance after losing two children in one year.
The joy of a place cannot wipe the tiers of Mama Lucia or give Mama Olinda a new dance. The joy of a place is powerless in the face of pain. Thus I have been asking myself. What is powerful enough to restore joy when it has no place being there, when it has been stung, shackled, and backstabbed.
I can think of no other power than knowing God's Love to be mine. Understanding this truth isn't natural but it is so important I cannot ignore or forget it. Life is too short.
At the funeral of the husband of Mama Lucia the pastor said something that made me think a little bit. He said, "Yes, we are sad today, because of death; but it is through death that we get to be with God so don't be sad." It made me think of how odd that must sound to half the people at the funeral and maybe half the people reading this.
We don't get pain and suffering, we hate it; but praise God His Love is as gentle to us as it is odd to us.