Thursday, September 8, 2016
“Home isn't where you're from, it's where you find light when all grows dark.” ― Pierce Brown
Compared to all of the homes we lived in while in the States, our current house is more like a tent. Cement floors (no carpets or rugs), no trash pick-up, no city water, no sewage, and really iffy electric power. When it was finished, there were no interior doors because the locals don’t use them—just hang curtains across the openings. No central heat, no air-conditioning, no heaters of any kind, no fire place, and a propane stove with no temperature regulator for the oven for cooking. No dishwasher, no dryer, no washing machine, no vacuum cleaner, and brooms and mops so cheaply made they wear out in a matter of weeks. Because of the constant wind and open windows, we have to sweep and mop and dust every single day. We have a well (hand-dug, fifty feet deep) with a submersible pump that lifts the water to a 3,000 liter tank on a 20 foot high tower that give us gravity feed so we can have running water--even though it is not safe to drink, must be filtered. Have to fill the tank every single day. We have septic tanks that have to be emptied about every three years but thankfully there are people here who do that. There are no furniture stores, all our furniture is handmade by local craftsman to our specifications. There are places where you can buy chairs or couches, but here, the locals like the furniture to be near the floor so that sitting is more like squatting. Us old Americans have to have much taller furniture. We can’t get gas hot-water heaters or even ones that hold more than twelve gallons, so we can have a hot shower but just one a day if we are on the national power grid (our generator cannot run the hot water heaters). Because we do have running water indoors, we have flush toilets inside the house. The builders were shocked that we would have our bathrooms inside the house which they thought was just shocking and crude—they all use squat holes in outdoor choos or what we would call out-houses. The picture at the right is of Karen teaching the wives of our pastors how to dry meat—our house is in the background.
Yes, compared to what we were used to, this is more like living in a tent. However, our neighbors don’t have running water, interior doors, indoor bathrooms, floors in many cases, power, or glass in their windows. Our nearest neighbors live more like us, but you don’t have to travel even two miles to find people living in mud huts, so compared to them we hardly live in a tent, it’s more like we live in a palace. We don’t compare our life here to our life back in the states, we compare it to those with whom we live and feel a little guilty about all the luxuries we have that they don’t. Anyone who grew up on a farm in the United States in the last fifty or sixty years would find our life very similar. We don’t think of ourselves as sacrificing at all, we know we are blessed. Especially blessed since others paid for our well, the buildings in the mission compound, the generator, and the solar panels that provide security lighting at night. Others gave of themselves to plant grass, make paths, put rocks in the driveway and helped to hoist the water tanks into place. Not only are we blessed by what we have—we are blessed because of how we got it. We understand about living by and from the hand of God. It changes everything. Yes, we have to shop every day, and yes, we have to clean the rice and beans we buy in the same way the Jesus’s mother had to clean them by throwing them into the air out of a basket and letting the wind blow the chaff away. Compared to most of the homes you are used to, we are camping out. Compared to the people with whom we live, we are living in luxury and are grateful, very very grateful, indeed. Thanks be to God and to all those who have helped and are helping us maintain our mission here. We can do nothing on our own, we need the prayers and support of those back home and the grace of God to carry on day after day. Thankfully, we have that support and that grace.