Wednesday, October 8, 2014

“Work is not always required. There is such a thing as sacred idleness.” ― George MacDonald

We are often told to take time to smell the flowers.  Here, in Bunda, Tanzania, sometimes that is all we can do.  The power can be off from a few hours to a day or two.  The internet can be down even when the power is on and sometimes the internet is up when the power is down.  The internet has been down for a large part of Tanzania since Sunday and just came back.  There is no rhyme or reason to it.  I have also discovered as I age that when you are recovering from malaria, grossly overweight, a diabetic, have bad feet, a bad heart, a permanently bruised tail-bone, and still have sore ribs from a fall weeks ago—you don’t have to be physically active to still be of service.  John Milton, who wrote “Paradise Lost” also wrote that, “They also serve, who only stand and wait.”  We have eight Methodist bishops of Tanzania here for three days of meetings, and I attended only the first to open it with a welcome and a prayer (I did tell them the story of the boy and grace from the blog).  I will, through Neema and Edina, provide them with clean, safe rooms in which to sleep and with hot meals three times a day for the three and a half days they are here.  I can do all this from my bed or sitting propped up with pillows in my living room.  One or two will come over to visit with me for brief periods but that will the extent of my involvement in this momentous Synod meeting.  I am praying for them, but the Methodist Church in Tanzania should and will be run by Tanzanians, not by an American.  I will offer advice if asked, but otherwise I will be a host only.  The time of my active involvement in the church here is pretty much over, but they still need my financial support for many things, and I freely give it.  I will be a bishop for another twenty-five years if I live that long, so I will most probably die as a bishop.  Karen and I came here answering the call of God to assist the Church and help expand His Kingdom and were joined by my son, John, just one year later.  We have done and are doing what we were all called to do and will continue to do that as long as we are able.  I must admit some relief at not attending three days of meetings, especially as Tanzanians love nothing more than talking at great length and repeating what the previous speaker said in addition.  That, I will not miss.  I can and will offer what support I can and in merely hosting the event I will spend over $500 but happy to do it.  They are all traveling to Karikakari tomorrow and I will pay for their mini-bus.  I will also be asked to assist with travel expenses for some to get back home and will to the extent I am able.  There is so much more joy in giving than receiving.  Smelling flowers is pleasant but more pleasant is the elation I feel when I give to advance the Word of God.  I would have never believed it if it hadn’t happened to me.  You ought to try it, it might make your life a whole lot more fun.

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