Thursday, October 8, 2015
“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” ― Winston S. Churchill
The power was out all day Tuesday and is out again today. Tanesco (our national power company) has in its wisdom decided to switch to an all pre-paid system. We now have a device in our house that tells us how much we have left in our account and when we need to pay more which we don’t do in person but by telephone. It just seems ironic to me that as soon as they made this switch, they have been unable to provide power for more than two days in a row. We had to rebuild our generator while I was gone (new rings) and so now we have to change the oil almost once a week as it needs changing after every twenty hours of running. It also means that we are paying about $30 a day for petrol (gasoline) to run the generator for an entire day, but that is just one of the benefits(?) of living in one of the poorest countries in the world where corruption rules. Enough foreign aid money has been given that we should never be without power, but individuals became very wealthy and even left the country after stealing the money meant for improving the power situation. We have learned to adjust, adapt, and modify our daily behavior to deal with whatever comes up. We are still doing all the things we came here to do, just by different means, or not as often, or working jointly with others, but we get the job done. We still have our schools, still feed our orphans, still teach how to sew, how to teach, how to preach, and how to organize and plant churches. When we first arrived, an Anglican missionary came to see us and told us not to expect to see much happen for at least three years. We laughed because we knew we were Americans and would get immediate results. Of course, she was right, only it took five years, and even now, ten years later, with the High Court of Tanzania ruling in our favor behind us, we are just now really pressing forward. I’m currently reading a book by an aid worker and am including here, in his words, how we felt when we first arrived, too. He writes, “I could see myself as the kindly, intelligent foreigner who arrives at the village, finds out the problem, and then solves it. I imagined driving an old Land Rover over dirt roads, arriving in pretty mud-hutted villages, and playing with laughing children. Once I’d done what needed doing, everyone would obviously be pleased, and I’d feel great.” [“Aid and Other Dirty Business” by Giles Bolton] It didn’t work out that way for him or for us, but there is enough success (nowhere near as much as we’d hoped), enough encouragement for continuing from the local people who have come to love us, and enough support through prayers and gifts from others for us to continue. Change may come very slowly here, too slowly to please most Americans, but it does come, and it does bring with it relief, happiness, and the expansion of God’s Kingdom. We have learned to count the success of planting a seed or of seeing the ripples in the pond from the tiny pebble we tossed into it. We will not stop or cease to serve until God so deems it. It is not easy. It is not fast. It takes great patience and many sacrifices, but it is worth it and that’s what is important.