We enjoyed the last few days of a beautifully full and oh so bright moon this week. I awoke once in the night and thought that it was already morning because the moon was so bright! Everyone loves it because we walk everywhere without flashlights and can see where we are going.
Every evening I sit with the children outside as we eat our dinner, usually rice and beans. We have no dining tables and so we sit on mats or in plastic chairs or along the built in concrete benches, which are a part of the outside of every house in most of Africa. We were discussing the differences between Africa and the West concerning dinnertime. They were literally amazed, shocked, when I told them that many, many Americans eat alone. It is unheard of here in Africa. People just do not eat alone. Even if you are a widow and have no one, you eat with your neighbor each night, sharing in the making and partaking of the meal.
We sit under the stars here and we laugh and listen and share. The older ones will sit out by the fire every single night just telling stories, some true and some not. It is almost a contest to see who can make the best story. And once a good story is told, they never tire of hearing it, sometimes even embellishing it as they retell. If you are a missionary and want to reach the African people, storytelling is the way to go.
The nights here are so amazingly peaceful. We really are in the bush and so we don’t hear city noises or even neighbors. It is wonderfully alive here with the night insects singing their cadence. Every single night we have a myriad of fireflies, lightening bugs as some know them. They are so plentiful that sometimes we mistake them for falling stars as they blend into the night sky. They also alight onto trees and bushes and blink their little lights reminding one of a Christmas tree. I never tire of these Sudan nights so alive with activity yet so peaceful. Way off in the distance, to the southeast, every single night we watch the night sky display a lightening storm over the Congo. It rains there every night. We are very close to the Congo border.
I spent Wednesday morning sitting in a field of maize corn and ground nuts with the mama’s and three little babies. They had harvested piles and piles of ground nuts and so we sat in the shade of a palm tree and pulled the peanut shells from the plants, tossing them into basins to dry in the sun. We talked and ate and picked and it was so peaceful. The earth smelled sweet and clean, the dirt rich and dark, the plants a vibrant green, and life was just so simple. Even one of the babies was sucking on peanut shells, rich African dirt drooling from her sweet lips, not a care in the world. I wish I could capture these moments for you in such a way that you would see and smell the African bush in all it’s life giving presence.
Thursday I drove a pastor and one of our mamas down the Kaya Road towards the Uganda border, about 20 miles out. The Uganda border is forty six miles out so we were still quite a ways from it when we stopped in the village of Jambu. The village only had about eight very small buildings and women were coming down the road from both directions, basins and bags and piles of fruit and vegetables atop their heads, their hips swaying in time with their colorful skirts, their black skin shining brightly in the morning sun. There were small rows of women sitting on the ground with their items before them, laid out in a pleasing manner. We bought huge bunches of bananas and maize corn and pineapple and peas and bamboo chairs. I bought 12 large pieces of corn in the husk, two very large cucumbers (bigger than my hand seriously), and a pineapple all for 5 pounds ($1.72). I bought a beautiful bamboo stool for 2 pounds (.68 cents)! I love these small bush markets. They are amazing and so are the people. So friendly.
This week the Lord has been speaking to me about peace. Not that I have lost mine by any means. I just so happen to be slowly digesting the book of Luke and came across Luke 10:5:
“When you enter a house, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’ If a man of peace is there, your peace will rest on him; if not, it will return to you.”
I am still holding the Friday night youth group and we talked about this peace as we finished our stuffy of the book of Philippians. It says to be anxious for nothing……and His (Jesus) peace will guard you.
If the Prince of Peace dwells in us then we carry peace. Sometimes we forget that there is an unlimited storehouse full of peace within us and all we have to do is touch our hearts and say, “Peace to this house.” We are the house of God, His very dwelling place. We are peace carriers. So now, the youth of Iris, those who remember, when they enter their dorms, they say, “Peace to this house.” We touch each other on the shoulder and say, “Peace to this house.”
I have some friends who are Episcopalian and in their church service they say, “Peace be with you.” It really is a big deal when you impart peace. You impart the Prince of Peace Himself.