Saturday, May 28, 2016

Nothing official scheduled today. There are rumors of some kind of youth activity at Faith tonight, but plans aren’t firm.

By 9 most of The Crew is up, and Lora has gone into town with Naomi to get her hair finished; they didn’t do the hot water thing yet.

In my personal devotions I’m reading through the Greek NT in 2 years. Today’s section is 1Cor 15.12-21. I work through the first paragraph, on the emptiness of trusting in Christ if there is no resurrection. Then there’s a new paragraph in Greek, which begins with the powerful words, “But now Christ has been raised from the dead, firstfruits of the ones who have fallen asleep.” He is risen, and many more will rise in a future harvest. A good thought as I mull over the passing of a sister, and a reminder to pray for her family.

Over in the convention center (the Quonset hut where graduation was held) they’re having a retirement service for Kathy Bristol, a nurse who has run the clinic in Baayiri, essentially out in the bush, for the last 20 years. (She was in Liberia for 20 years before that.) For much of that time she’s been the only nasala there and has worked with Waala technicians to provide clinic and lab services to the locals. When one of my 2013 team members developed an infection in a scrape, we ran her out there for care. I remember her showing me how on certain days, in good weather, if she stood on a chair in the corner of one of the rooms, she could get weak cell signal, sometimes even enough to make or receive a call.

The service includes Kathy’s testimony and the testimonies of several whom she has helped. No missionary is replacing her; the clinic will now be run by nationals. It’s a sweet time of good-byes and a greatly understated celebration of a life of faithful, sacrificial, and sometimes dangerous service. She’s just one of many who have served without recognition, but there is One Who knows.

The service gets out a little after noon, and Ivy brings lunch over as The Crew gets back to the house. As usual, a couple of the students join us.

I’ve made the research paper due today, so students trickle by the house all afternoon to present their offerings. That gives me a chance to have a few words with each one, swapping thanks and encouragements. It’s nice to have that going on throughout the day.

There’s the usual Saturday volleyball game at 4 pm; everyone enjoys the workout and the interaction. Supper is a pasta casserole, which we wipe out nicely. When Ivy brings it over, I ask about the youth activity. Yes, there is one; would you like to go? I can run you out there and then pick you up afterward. I realize that they weren’t intending for us to go. Transportation would add another 2 items to their schedule. I don’t want to do that. We’ll stay here tonight.

During supper we’re discussing health issues (yep, right at the dinner table), and we realize that we’re having a run of rashes and a rash of runs. Nothing serious—my hunch is that the rashes are heat rashes and will calm down when we get to TZ in a week, where it’s considerably cooler. Some of the crew note that their, um, digestive issues were lessened when they started cutting the corners of their water sachets with scissors instead of using their teeth. Makes sense, though previous teams hadn’t had any trouble with that.

Evidently there’s some football game on TV tonight—Real Madrid vs Captain America: Civil War, or something like that. They were planning to watch it on the TV here at the house—I’m told that the house is the college’s TV room / student center when nobody’s living here—but they realize that this TV isn’t subscribed to the channel they need, so they head over to another house on the compound that gets it. I opt to stay home and enjoy the peace and quiet.

After a bit I head up to the chapel to get some wifi, and guess what? They’re watching the game there. All righty. I do my thing in the back while the observers—Jonathan, Jojo, Prince, Rachael, Bethany—shout at the TV at random intervals. Turns out that Jonathan and Jojo are cheering for different teams; that makes it interesting.

Connection’s pretty slow tonight, so I don’t get my work done until they’re doing the penalty-kick shootout to decide the game. Real Madrid wins. Jonathan’s happy, and Jojo’s not, and I Don’t Know’s on third base.

Back at the house we gather for devotions, with Prince joining us. We alternate songs with testimonies tonight, and there’s plenty to share. The Lord is working in each of us, sometimes in different ways, but all clearly. We pray for strength for tomorrow, when Jojo and I (along with Carloss and of course Timothy) will all be preaching, and Jonathan and Lora will be doing special music in both services at Faith, with the morning one in Waali.

As we’re finishing up, the wind starts up. It’s easy to notice, because every room in the house has louvered windows on at least one wall, and because of the heat all the louvers are open. The curtains are blowing almost horizontally, and doors start slamming around the house. In a few minutes there’s another one of those mighty thunderstorms, with lightning and thunder and torrents of rain and wind that blows the trees as though they’re dancing. I step outside to enjoy it and find Pastor Job, who’s our night watchman, sitting in the toolshed waiting for it all to stop. Not much crime out there in this downpour.

We decide to break out the 2-litre tub of vanilla Fan Ice that Simon brought by for us. With a little Milo powder or orange marmalade, or just plain, it’s a great end to an eventful day.

The rain continues until well past midnight; we fall asleep to its background music.

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Dan Olinger

Chair, Division of Bible in the BJU School of Religion.

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