I’m listening to Christmas music every day to try to lift my sagging spirit. We are still reeling from Juliana’s betrayal and confirmation that the money we had been missing over the years was money she had stolen. Whenever I noticed a large amount missing, she would always help look and would find it when no one else was observing her. We found out that what she was spending at the market was half of what we had been giving her, she would spend the other half on herself and take it to her home before returning to our house. We were paying her almost twice what we were paying everyone else which is not including all we paid for Charlini and the school fees for her other children until they dropped out or were arrested. The other staff members have been telling me it was all about the money, that she felt entitled to much, much more than we were paying her (and we were paying her twice what we were paying the others). We had been paying her social security for years and instead of deducting 10% from her pay, we had been paying it all ourselves. All the gifts, medical insurance, everything we did meant nothing if it didn’t turn into money in her pocket, and it had been getting worse the more we paid her. I think I understand, but that doesn’t alleviate the pain that someone we loved and trusted actually hated us. I have read true stories of other Americans and Brits whose beloved and trusted staff turned on them, but I never believed it would happen to us. The important thing is not to stop loving and trusting. We still love Juliana, but we will never trust her again or allow her to work or visit here. So sad, but life sometimes is, isn’t it? It’s how we respond that is the definition of our character and how God will judge us. Shaban is going to Charlini’s school today to assure them that we will continue paying and will also go to visit Juliana’s brother-in-law, Father Steven whose wife, Juliana’s sister, passed away just last year. We helped Father Steven through his seminary training, and we hope he will help us with Charlini. More on that later.
It is a fact that married men live longer than single men because their wives insist on their seeing doctors. I had a little bump on the back of my head no bigger than the eraser on the end of a pencil, so I wasn’t worried about it but Karen was. Yesterday, the doctor shaved half of my head and did an excision the diameter of a tennis ball to get rid of the cancer caused by that little eraser-sized bump. The doctor always comments on how much I bleed, and I even surprised his nephew who was helping him. I lost so much blood that he couldn’t even snip off the two little warts I wanted gone. He’ll do those later. Oh what I would pay for some Vicodin or Percocet, but all we have here is something called Paracetamol which is a kind of aspirin Tylenol combination which does very little for a man my size with a history of alcohol and drug abuse (turns out even if it was forty years ago, it still has an effect). I guess continuing to live will make it worth the pain, and I have suffered much worse. If you can’t handle pain, you better not live past fifty, especially if you’re a man. The hair will grow back, the stitches will come out, and the whole thing will be a memory in just a matter of months. There are missionaries here who have suffered so much worse and are still smiling and working that I feel guilty even complaining a little. This is my fourth surgery for skin cancer since I’ve been here in Africa with the smallest for removing a cancer the size of a half-dollar. Guess I’m like that Energizer bunny, just gonna keep on doing what I’ve been called here to do regards of the hurts to my heart or my head. Pretty sure that’s what God expects of you, too, so suck it up and get back to being about your Father’s business. I am.