Ahhhh, patience, that ever elusive trait, at least until I came to Sudan. Not a week passes by where I don’t have to walk quietly and peacefully down this road. Every day this week I have made one to two trips into town to the clinic for the children, and three trips on Friday. Here there is no such thing as appointments or even being in a proper line. One can be sitting for hours waiting in a cue at the clinic and a lady will walk in with a baby and go right to the front and open the door on a doctor and patient and state her business. The doctor patiently tells her to wait and he will see her next. No one says anything. We all assume that something is terribly wrong otherwise she would wait her turn, or, she is just in a hurry. We don’t get angry or shout at her. We just sit and wait a bit longer.
When waiting for medications to be filled, everyone crowds around a screened window and stands there shoulder to shoulder to wait instead of sitting until called. They literally hover until it is filled. When it rains all things stop.
Because of the rain there are so many potholes in the dirt road that on my half hour drive into town, I only get out of first gear for about 5 minutes of the entire drive. Serious! It is a long and tedious journey and the small river I cross is eroding away on the banks, making the road even narrower. I still ford the small river and wonder daily if it will be the last trip before the road completely falls away. We are really out here in the bush. Even now as I type this, the rain is coming in the door sideways, a never-ending work to keep our things dry, not to mention mold. But for the grace of God we would become frustrated. It is simply our way of life and it does go on and we are not frustrated.
This week, two of our daughters had an argument over a writing pen. One of the girls decided to run away. We scoured the town looking and could not find her. We then placed an announcement on the local radio station, which everyone listens to. Then five of our girls, unbeknownst to us, left school and went looking all over town for her. They returned for lunch (a two hour roundtrip walking) and left again to scour the town. They finally found her in a bar but she refused to come home. The five girls arrived after dark defeated. We then piled into a truck and went to town to the bar and she was gone. We went to the police station and he radio’d the road gates and late that night they caught our little daughter trying to make her way to Juba, one hundred miles up the road. She is only 13 years old. She spent the night at the police chief’s house and we retrieved her the next morning. This is one of our Juba girls rescued from the trash heeps and she has many holes in her heart and when conflict arises, she only knows the flight and hasn’t learned the fight of faith yet. And so we continue to run after her when she runs. This is her third time. Jesus never tires of running after us and we can’t tire of running after our children. Patience + Mercy = Grace.