Tuesday, June 23, 2009
( i think), and i spent 3 great days in england. had a great time with my friend nicola and reunited with an elementary school friend that is marrying a brit. i love how paths twist and turn in life--and if you are lucly enough--you get to re-meet some people. anywho--after 3 days in england, i met the LEGS team and we took the "chunnel" to paris then a flight to senegal. yes, that means i was in 3 countries in 1 day. i felt like i was on the amazing race...minus the glam. landing in senegal was surreal...looking out the window onto a flat, dry, dusty and unknown country sent a rush to my heart--with a tad of fear, if i am honest. after making it through customs, i always take deeper breaths and thank the Lord for his provision. all of our bags arrived and we were off to the missionary home. oh--key thing--we were greeted by missionaries that have been in west africa for 20 years--and they speak wolof and french. my french is improving by the hour--as i am trying to communicate. as far as wolof--well, im in trouble :)
today was our 1st day on the ground and it was incredible. we met with 2 handicap centers--to discuss our role, goals, and i offered up my services. they were excited to have me--so i will spend tom with a group of 15 physiotherapists (some of which were trained in europe). should be interesting. here is where i wish i could rattle off french and didnt need a translator. unfortunately, bonjour doesnt get too far.
my translator today was awesome--her name is Ndeye and she shared her testimony with me when we had an alone moment in the taxi. keep in mind that 95% of this country is muslim as i tell you this. she distinctly remembers thinking Jesus Christ was truth at 5 yrs old. how amazing...as she had not been taught about him in her muslim home. at 20, she prayed for the Lord to confirm that He was the hope for her future and eternity. She asked that He would confirm that mohammad was not the true savior. in that very moment, she felt a flood of peace. she knew Jesus was her Lord and saviour. this made my eyes well up with the tears. the cost of becoming a beliver for ndeye: her husband left her with 2 small boys. she was a single parent in a 3rd world country with few opportunities. the reward--her father saw her strength amongst the pain and accepted the Lord as his saviour. this is what life is about. the pain and refinement--so that the Lord is given glory. Her story makes me want to get up in the morning. I love that we serve a God who redeems and restores. He is indeed good.
another highlight of the day--i had a meeting with a group of PTs which was a tad unnerving. i walked into a room with 5 women and 2 men--and my lovely translator. they wanted to hear from me. about what i asked??? i hate feeling unprepared. its not as if i knew id meet them...but still, its like showing up to a test without studying. i took a deep breath and prayed that the Lord would bridge our cultural gaps. He did. He gave me peace, words, and we became friends. how you might ask?? fashion. these woman are decked out in the most beautiful african clothing, gold jewerly galore and head coverings that would make your jaw drop. after discussing business, i commented on their clothing and how i admire that they do rehab in this. they laughed...and walls fell down. its amazing how laughter does that. i commented on one woman's bracelets--and she quickly removed one and put in on my wrist. she insisted i keep it. i said all i know to say--merci beaucoup--thank you very much. so i sported a beautiful gold bracelet with my boring scrubs today. its always humbling how giving people are.
alright--your eyes must be tired from this novel. thank you for taking time to read my thoughts and life. please pray that the Lord would make use of me tom in the handicap center. pray that i would be salt and light in a muslim country.
ps--i stood on the western most tip of the african continent today. thus--i was the closest i could ever be to you guys while in africa :)