As a missionary serving in the village of Kapenta, Tanzania, I have a bittersweet relationship with the Lord in how He constantly has so much to teach me. And yet, at the same time, I am so glad He has not given up on this work in progress. I have actually reached the point of sometimes having a glorious soaring in my heart because of His love for me in disciplining me in ways only He can. When I know it is from Him, I feel so treasured – even though it’s painful.
A sweet young lady came to my door a few weeks ago and asked if she could get some things she needed to treat wounds that morning. The first reaction I had was to get upset because she did not plan ahead and make sure she had what she needed before the patients needed care. I reacted in a slightly harsh manner, but my heart was angry. The weekend following, we attended church in Jangwani with the Sherman Family, where Pastor Uzuli preached on the passage from Ephesians 4:1-3 “I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” Wow, conviction prompted me because I had not been humble, gentle or patient with Huruma (interestingly, her name means mercy) and so when I saw her mother at women’s group that week, I asked her to send Huruma to my house because I wanted to apologize to her for the harsh way I spoken to her. This is where the story takes a turn. The next morning, the young lady comes to my door. I invite her in, and she proceeds to tell me how horrible she feels about people coming to me to tell me that she has been talking badly about me. She said she couldn’t sleep that night because of the sadness she felt. Granted, my Swahili is not always the best, but my husband was listening in and helped me see what the culture I live in can’t often understand. It’s this: the work of the Holy Spirit can convict us without having any other person approach us. I tried to explain this to her, but it took a separate visit to their home where I slowly proceeded to tell both of them about how my God, Who loves me so much and will not let me get away with anger in my heart, touched my heart to humble myself and ask for forgiveness.
What I learned is basically how much we all have to learn. I’m also learning how important it is to stay dependent on God for His wisdom in each situation in our lives. And, that it is Him who can teach me just how to acquire a humble, gentle and patient spirit.
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