Here is a journal entry from last November, after I had started living out in the bush to do my language study. I thought this would be a good one to share.
Well, boredom set in yesterday. All seemed well as the first two or three days moved by. I actually began to think it was not going to be so bad being out here in the middle of nowhere. Then yesterday happened.
I woke up dreading the day, and it got worse from there. It was hot yesterday; hotter than before that is. My little 12 volt fan gave out in the middle of the night because my inverter was giving me fits. It seems my little electricity scheme needs some revisions before it is working the way I need it to. The first revision is a more energy efficient inverter.
The goats, kids, chickens, and every other random noise (including the deaf guy in the village who screams unintelligible phrases in an attempt to communicate with people) had finally found their way to my nerves and were carefully gnawing away at them. Stuff that was easily overlooked at first now collected my attention and began to erode my initial naivety at the ease of my assignment out here. My mood began to sour and patience with the kids began to wane.
My first major decision for the day was breakfast. I could eat more oatmeal, some of the instant baby food mix my supervisor had left out here, or crackers. (One must be aware that these three options constitute 75% of my total options for food out here, the final one being Ramen noodles.) I chose oatmeal. I made an attempt to spice it up a little with some drink mix (peach flavor) to no avail. It was not a total waste though… I will work on a recipe.
I ate my peach-flavored mush and did everything I could to stall walking out the door of my house (hut). I did not want to deal with the inevitable trickle of kids that would start leaking around my gate. I did not want to deal with the little old ladies that would come by my fence and asked me the same questions over and over – the same greetings. I did not want the village elder to come by again today and try to teach me their language by getting me to repeat his garbled sentences. He mumbles so bad you can not understand him. Honestly, I did not want to be around these people at all, but being alone was driving me nuts. I felt stuck.
Here I was less than a week into this little experiment and I was beginning to loathe my surroundings. The reality that this would be a long six months began to sink in. The temptation to wall up in my house was starting.
It is funny how culture shock works. The very reason I am here is to be with these people. Yet, the temptation is to do the opposite. God is good though, He is often quick to remind us of our purpose and His plan. In this instance He did just that. Time spent with God is such a great blessing. Oh how thankful we must be for a God that is not totally transcendent. Our God is not far away up in the heavens out of our reach. He is here. He knows us, and we can know Him. What a great privilege!
Five times a day I hear that annoying wail from the village mosque. I wake up to it at 5 am everyday and it is one of the last things I hear before I go to bed. They all go to the mosque to repeat their memorized prayers. What a hopeless condition! My supervisor says they do not pray to God they pray about God saying, “May God do this,” or “May God do that.” To live a life and not know God would be the most miserable fate.
I know God, and He knows me. I spend time with Him, and He with me. The greatest assurance on earth is the familiar sound of God’s voice speaking to my heart. Indeed, it was that voice that spoke to me today simply to remind me why He sent me here.
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