Thursday, June 4, 2009
Once again, a friend and trusted co-worker has stolen from us, lied about it, and abandoned us. A man we have helped time and time again has betrayed us. As we discussed this with other missionary friends, we found that all of them had similar stories. The very people we loved and depended upon--the more we gave them power and authority, the more they began to cheat and steal. In addition, this culture is called a "shame" culture, where "losing face" is the worst thing that can happen to you, so there is never an admission of guilt or a request for forgiveness. Instead, the norm is to attack those from whom you stole to make it look like it was their fault. Kind of like the man arrested for robbing a convenience store complaining that if they hadn't been open late, he would never have robbed them. It is an attempt to turn the victim into the bad guy. It is sad, and none of us has a really good solution except to exercise vigilance and not to fall into the trap of depending on any one person for too many things--which is easy to do here when you are sick a lot. We forgive those who wrong us, but we are careful not to let them continue to steal if we are to be good stewards of the gifts God has given us. Our friends from Geita promoted a man into the position of foreman only to have him demand twice the salary promised because now he was the "foreman", and they had to dismiss him. Sometimes you can't win, but we will not stop trusting people here because there are many who deserve our trust. We must, however, be good examples, good teachers, and good friends by making sure that we are not part of the problem. Pray that we will be the images of Christ that light may shine into the darkness and lead others out of their own darkness and into the light of His love.