Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Sitting at a stoplight...

I think Stephanie and I are feeling a bit overwhelmed, which I guess is to be expected. One of the hardest things, which is something we didn't expect, is the shame and guilt we feel around our house help. As we have mentioned in previous blogs, we have a guard for our gate and house help during the day. This is very cultural and expected for people from outside Africa to hire Zambians to work. It is great for Zambians as it provides jobs, and of course, it is great for people like us because we have house help and guards that really, well, help. My kids love these wonderful people. They love practicing Nyanga, asking them questions and just being involved in their lives. The hard part of it comes when you compare the life you live with theirs. Not a day has gone by where I won't just feel racked with guilt (why am I in this position and not them) and wondering what they are thinking (by our consumption or lifestyle or possessions or attitudes). For example, yesterday Stephanie cleaned out the cupboards of things that the previous tenants had left. There were extra lids for tupperware that had disappeared. She was about to throw them away when she remembered that you never throw anything away as usually the Zambians will want it. So today, she gave the bag of lids to Miriam and asked her if she would like them. She said, "oh yes, my kids will play with them. We also heard from another missionary not to throw the chicken carcass away when you are done with it, but to offer it to your workers. Today, Stephanie asked Miriam if she would like it and she said, "oh yes please." Then, I was playing with my kids on the trampoline. I looked over at our house help and she was washing the windows. Her husband died four years ago leaving 2 kids. She works during the week for us while her kids go to school. Her job with us allows her to make a living, but when she does our laundry, cleans our dishes and sweeps the house, you have to wonder what she is thinking. One guard has four kids. Another has three kids. They live in a compound a little bit away. They all walk to work. One has a bike but the brakes don't work. All day long you have this reminder how most of the third world lives and it is difficult and good. It is like sitting at a stoplight with a homeless person on the side road saying, "Starving and Homeless. Anything helps. God bless you!" all day long. You just sit there and they stand there and they watch you and you watch them. It is such a blessing having these wonderful people here, especially because it makes me confront how much we have and how much people suffer in the world. It tears me apart, but I need that. Later this month, we will go to the house helper's houses and deliver their paychecks and a back of Meali-meal so their family has food to eat this month. I look forward to my family having a chance to enter their worlds and meet their families. I am thankful this evening as I look at my wife, as we sit here together, and I hope that you are reveling in the blessings of our God as you are blessing to others. Tomorrow I head to some of the poorer compounds to meet some pastors.

1 comment:

Edwin Martinez said...

It's thought provoking when Jesus asks those he heals to NOT tell anyone about it. I don't think we know ALL the reasons for this. I imagine in part Jesus wanted people to come to him for the relationship for eternity and spititual healing, not just physical healing. May the Lord bless you and those around you as you meet real needs in life changing miraculous ways.