For months we have held in our hearts so much excitement for what was happening and the possibilities to come. Perhaps that is what has made the past two months that much more painful.
Often times in ministry you catch this wave, an incredible, larger than life wave that holds so much promise. This wave has been a long time coming. And right when you were ready to take a break and paddle in this wave shows up. The past 6 months we have been riding this wave and it has been a wild ride! In all of our excitement and promise it seems there was something brewing deep underneath.
I think that's how it goes a lot of times for us as humans. We are so stoked on this high that we forget so easily about our issues that will eventually cause us to come crashing down. We are messy. I feel like it's just this inherent thing about people. We're just messy. We have so much junk holding us down. It's easy to forget about all that stuff when God is carrying us so well.
In Simukale we have this huge issue with alcoholism. For so long our families have battled this monster and more times than not have failed. But we knew that. We knew that this thing would always be a thing for us. We just needed to figure out how to redirect focus. Employment helped a lot and was, for the most part, a good distraction for some of our guys who struggle with this.
There is also this friend to poverty called greed that often comes for visits in our little village in this corner of the world, like it does every other place on earth. Greed has reaked havoc in the hearts of our people and built up walls as high as the Empire State Building. But, alas, we thought we could also go into battle with this foe through perhaps ingnoring it? And I say that not even knowing if that's what we actually did. You see, greed is a sneaky little thing that creeps in places you wouldn't even expect. In our case it hit close to our hearts.
So, with Mr. Alcoholism and Mrs. Greed getting along quite nicely in the hearts and minds of our people, it finally slapped us in the face. And no it's not that we weren't paying attention or that our strategy was failing. It's these things, among many others, that drive us to do what we do and to introduce Christ's love in order to change these hearts. It's just who we are as people.
It's as if there was this battle. On one side there was alcoholism and greed and on the other there was hope and redemption. Two weeks ago the bad guys won. And it hurt. There were conversations had about what a father is and what is expected out of a godly man. Other times where we sat with women who just want the best for their children and tell them they aren't doing it quite right. There were tears. Oh boy were there tears!
But it was then when the dust was settling that there was an opportunity for grace. We were able to wrap our arms around them and love them despite how messy their lives looked. We were able to point them to what Jesus did for us in that while we were perpetually messy he took our burden and showed us grace. He gave us second, third, and fourth chances when we didn't deserve it.
Sometimes that is how it happens. Hope and redemption lose the battle but, oh, thank God they don't lose the war.
We fight on and continue to be a presence and a beacon of hope in a sea of darkness. Thank you for your prayers that are surely the only way we are able to find good in difficult times like this one we have just overcome.