Heroes

April 22, 2007 at 7:29 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Hello again,

I hope I haven’t saddened people too much with my honesty about adjusting to life here. Living in a third world country is like a whirlwind relationship. There can be amazing highs and tough lows, and though you want to think you’re in control of everything, you’re just not. A calling does not guarantee a life of complete fulfillment but rather puts us on a path where we can use our gifts for God’s glory and we’re lucky enough in the process to share in some of that glory. Faith is the best mechanism with which to handle hardship. No doubt about it, and the fact that mine is getting a workout only means that God wants me to be so much more than I am and knows I can be!

Well! Thank you for your prayers. Thank you, thank you. I have felt more positive and at peace within the last week and am making strides in making this my new home. Met some more non-work people last night, some embassy and USAID people at a party in the quiet, neighborhoody part of Accra (hmmm, wonder when I’ll make enough cedi’s to live in a quiet part of some city…;-) so that was nice.

Sorry I haven’t said much about my work. I was doing a lot of observing for awhile that I’m glad I did since there’s a lot to remember in my job but that did get tedious. I can announce to you that I have officially done my first case all by myself! It’s a big deal because I was in some ways flying by the seat of my pants hoping I wasn’t screwing up this poor Liberian’s visa case (everything was fine). Casework involves two different interviews wherein we review a refugee’s file to understand their situation well and get loads of information in the least amount of time possible on every aspect of a their life, work and flight experience including thorough family trees and persecution story. Sometimes you’ve got up to ten people in front of you whose information your taking down! We’re supposed to do five of these a day. They’ll be easy on me at first but I’ll need to speed up eventually. It was scary not knowing exactly what I was doing at times but praying heavily made a big difference.

So I do another tomorrow morning and then on May 1st part of our team leaves for Guinea (including me) to work there for 13 days with mainly Liberian refugees and I’ll be doing casework full-time! It’ll be exhausting but good to get a rhythm down and learn my job well!

I’m happy to report that we do have water running again in my flat. It’s on again off again so when it’s on again it’s a pleasant surprise. Oh! And I got a shiny, new black fan that will blow nice breezes my way without turning off at random moments. I’m also happy to say that I’m officially using my beautiful macbook on broadband (!) to service my internet needs at an internet cafe. I was hesitant to take it around until I was sure about security and it’s so nice to have my own little lappy to use and a decent speed to work with!!!!! Oh, you North Americans are lucky….

Here’s a shout out to my female prison friends. I want to share something with you specifically. As mentioned in my last blog it’s been hard for me to get sleep in the noisy place I’m living in. Last Thursday (the night when the bar that I live above blasts music till 2:00 – okay 1:30) I had plans to stay with another coworker for sleep’s sake. Well, things ran late at work and long story short, it got too late for me to go over. So, (heavy sigh) I made my peace with another loud night, put on earphones and played the mellowest music I had in an effort to chill out if not sleep. Yes, my roommate laughed at the idea of playing music to drown out louder music. I trustingly asked God to give me the sleep I need to adequately function at work and you entered my mind. When we experience hardships as people of faith, and you certainly are experiencing some hardship, we can take that and offer it as a sacrifice for others, so you entered my mind. As I have kept you in prayer, I can see your faces well in my mind and I offered up my sleep that you would have what you need in God’s name. I truly felt united to you and a sense that I was directly participating in God’s wonderful work of voluntary love and sacrifice. I think about you and remember you and hope that my hardships encourage you in yours. Be hopeful! Life gets better when you trust in God…

On to the title for my blog. I have discovered lately than I am a hero. And you most likely are as well. One of the things I’ve struggled with later in my life is a sense of inadequacy when it comes to acheiving my goals. Especially when it seemed like I wasn’t acheiving anything despite my efforts to try to do whatever it is that God seemed to put forth for me to accomplish! There is so much I want to have been earlier in my life. The longer it took to acheive my goals the harder it was for me to see others achieve theirs at a younger age. So, I open myself in vulnerability and share this part of myself that I wish wasn’t there, in an effort to shine a light on something. I have done an amazing job at dealing with the intense interpersonal obstacles that landed in my path throughout my 32 years here on earth. It’s all due to God’s grace giving me the love and consolation I could not find sometimes anywhere else, but still, it required my “yes”, my cooperation. I am a hero for taking the lemons that sometimes rolled around my feet or came shooting toward me in a flash flood and turning them into a sweet, slightly tart, icy glass of lemonade. I glorify God just as I am because I take this life He gave me one day at a time and do what I can to make it love-centered. Because I seek to not deal with the world as it deals with me. I am a hero for triumphing over my hardships. It is precisely because I have done so that I have arrived at this point. Therefore, I cannot have arrived late. I am right on-time. My life is a special one and so is yours. It is not supposed to be just like anyone else’s. We’re too special to God for that.

I think we’re all heroes. To the extent that we refuse to let life beat us down and steal our dreams (am I writing a Dido song now?) WE ARE HEROES. To the extent that you extend your hand in forgiveness to one who has hurt you again and again, or abandon yourself to God in trust rather than bend to the approval of human beings, you are a hero. I have done my utmost with my life and I am proud. You should be too. There are far more heroes out in this world than not. I pass them every day here in Accra. Tomorrow morning when you take a look around at work or in your car think again at who you’re looking at. They’re more likely a hero than not.

To being heroes!!!

It’s getting late for me here so I’m just going to throw a couple fun facts in and save the rest for next time. That’s your teaser…:-)

1) Water bottles are significantly more expensive than water satchets so we European/American whiteys drink water out of 4×4 inch pastic bags that are clear. You snip the corner off with your teeth, split the plastic piece out of your mouth in a cool, careless fashion and suck out the water. You learn how to adeptly position one so that it does not tip over (I learned that quickly if I do say so myself). I even carried an opened one in my purse without spilling a drop anywhere in my second week here (that impressed my coworkers).

2) Peanuts are one of the staple snack foods here. You can buy them roasted in little bags at roadside stands. Unfortunately, you usually end up crunching on a bit of sand amongst the nuts. Not exactly Planters standards. So I tried buying some locally made in a grocery store but, no, got a bit of sand in my teeth with those also. It reminds me of my time in Zambia. 7 times out of ten, some sandy dirt would remain in the greens we often ate and it never failed that the dirt ended up on my plate!! Its a uniquely unpleasant experience to be happily masticating on your food and then CRUNCH! Immediately the girl I was studying with, Sasha, would recognize the look of irritation on my face and proceed to laugh herself silly that I had yet again ended up with the prized sand clump.

3) Today I actually had to start yelling at a cab driver who wanted me to pay him more than we had agreed upon. I had to threaten three times to get out of the car which he refused. Wierdness. While it was annoying to deal with on the way to church most drivers aren’t like that at all which I duly informed him. You learn to roll with this taxi negotiating situation but it can get tiresome.

Okay kids, I’m keeping my beloved readers and pray-ers in my heart and prayers and hope you are all well and living in joy!

your sister soldier,
Grace

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3 Comments »

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  1. Grace, hitting the 3rd world is certainly tough. You have to be young, strong and willing, all of which you are. But then, suddenly, and maybe you won’t even notice at first, it all becomes easy. In scientific circles it’s known as “the Erickson tipping point.”

    peace in the way,

    Tony

  2. Grace, I have faith in you and your ability to deal with everything that comes your way! I do miss you much! I’m praying for you every night!

    Thanks for being a positive inspiration in my life!

    Catch ya later!

  3. Met yer brother on line. Cool dude. I am a protestant missionary working now in Sonora Mexico with the Triqui indians.

    Our mission staff and the folks we work with will be praying for you. I have just read your blog and wonder where the stories of Zambia and the rest are? I am a stress junkie and when not being robbed or abused, often wonder if God is ignoring me or something.

    You are a hero, thanks for choosing to be one.

    By the way, I have found a way to defeat the rocks in my vegies and rice. I have pulled most of my own teeth (the others have fallen out) and now they no longer break on the rocks.

    Dance and sing and laugh often. Thanks for working for God and thanks for choosing to change the world.

    bobby


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