I am still amazed at how much I love living in the bush.  I can remember just three years ago saying that I could never live in the country.  I had to have my shopping malls and fast food places and movie theaters and quick stop gas stations all close at hand or I would be miserable.  Haha!  I laugh now.

I wake up in the morning to the sweet sounds of the bush, all of the little insects and birds and their chirping and singing and ringing, our resident rooster crowing, the sound of the water pump (we call it the donkey) as children fill their jugs for their morning baths, a few early morning workers walking along the path on their way to their fields.  It is so indescribably peaceful here and it does the heart so much good.  No cars, no garage doors, no traffic, no AC kicking on, no dishwasher or washing machine whirring, no toilets flushing, no TV in the background, only the natural sounds of life here in the African bush.  Come visit us J.

We are in the middle of our rainy season now and everything is so green.  All the documentaries you have seen on TV about the African jungle and how fast things grow is true.  The vegetation can easily grow six inches in a week.  One of our mamas planted a papaya tree in September, just a teeny branch stuck in the ground and now it is at least nine feet tall!  One of our Maringa trees broke after a heavy rain last October and was left to a two-foot stump.  It now towers to at least fifteen feet!

On our compound we have nice wide paths to walk on, about six feet across.  Our compound is very large, 50 acres or so.  My new living space in our dorm building is at the top of our compound and is surrounded by bush.  I step off of my porch and can walk on a nice wide path down to the main communal area.  But I love to step off my porch and walk this tiny one-foot across path through our tall maize corn, ground nut, greens, and cassava fields.  As I wind my way through, sometimes I pick a nice piece of maize corn and sit by an early morning fire to roast it while cuddling a sweet baby and visiting with the mamas as they have their coffee.  I truly treasure these times.

This week as we went into the market to run a few errands, we found a treasure.  A little girl, about ten years old, came and sat next to one of our team members.  She was wearing a tattered and dirty red dress, she was dirty and smelled of urine, her teeth were dirty, and she had scars on her chest and face and dirt caked in her unkempt hair.  But she had the most beautiful smile.  We talked to her in Arabic and she wouldn’t focus on us or look us directly in the eye.  We wondered if she could even hear us.  The shop owner ladies told us that she was deaf and that her parents died two years ago and she had been living on the streets ever since, digging in trash heaps and sleeping in shop corners in the dirt.

Well, we just took her home with us!  We didn’t know her name and so we named her Mercy because love looked like mercy this day.  We fed her lunch, bathed her, gave her new clothes and started praying over her.  The next two hours were spent in intense prayer and deliverance.  When we first brought her home she was moving here and there, and she couldn’t sit still or focus on any one thing and never seemed to respond to our voices or seemed to understand us.  She was definitely manifesting dark demons.  We also believe that she had been horribly sexually abused because of the way she acted toward men that we encountered on the way home.

After the two-hour session of deliverance and prayer and love, she was calm as could be.  She understood everything we said to her and she sat quietly and peacefully to eat her dinner.  She could hear!  We would say, “Aculu (eat)” and she would eat.  We would say, “Casalu edan (wash your hands)” and she would wash her hands!  At one point, while eating,  she closed her eyes and licked her fingers and kept her eyes closed as if savoring all the goodness of that hot meal and clean clothes and a place to call home where she was set free from the agony of the last two years.  That peaceful look on her face said everything that needed to be said.

After dinner and hand washing she was led gently to her new bed, her very own bed, with clean sheets and a blanket and mosquito net.  She crawled inside and giggled and was so extremely happy.  She lay her head down and was asleep instantly, at last there was peace in her soul, knowing she was home.  Love looked like Mercy today.

This is why I am here.  We stopped for one today, just one, and her life is forever changed and she knows the goodness of the Lord and His plans for her life.  Today she was laughing and playing jump rope with the girls, sweeping the dirt (we do that here), shelling groundnuts, eating lots of food, and having a great day.  She is truly happy to be here.  I went to town on some business and when I came back and got out of the car, Mercy ran across the compound and actually jumped into my arms and laughed and hugged me so tight.  She almost knocked me down in her enthusiasm.  Priceless.