Africa. I had to keep reminding myself that it was true. I was actually halfway around the globe on that mysteriously fascinating continent that I knew only partially through National Geographic, Animal Planet and old missionary stories. As we sat in the small, unattached outbuilding on the church grounds with a handful of pastor’s wives, some who walked a significant distance to be with us, I listened to them describe hurts, wounds, needs, struggles and desires that were unbelievably similar to any I might hear and have actually heard or experienced in the U.S.
Minus the cosmic economic gap that separated us from our Kenyan sisters in Christ, Beth Stone, Sherry Vittitow and myself were amazed to realize that our similarities far outweighed externally more apparent differences. No, we’ve never put our kids to bed hungry or spent a night outdoors after gathering our meager furniture and other simple belongings that had been hurled into a heap on the “lawn” outside our apartment because rent was late . . . again. There were some circumstances, some situations, that we very middle-to-upper-class Americans had never come close to experiencing. Where they battle being content with little, we fight to accept contentment with much. The Apostle Paul said both must be learned.
Still, as we unpacked matters of the heart, we quickly discovered that women here and there, and I’m now guessing women just about anywhere, are very much the same.
We wrestled together with how to best encourage husbands who devote many long hours to the ministry of the Gospel and helping the hurting. We acknowledged struggling to choose to forgive those in the church who unintentionally, or even at times intentionally, wound us. We spoke of the uniquely female pain of gossip, slander, jealousy and competition among women – especially Christian women. Rearing children to be God seekers, staying spiritually and physically refreshed and maintaining joy on this often crazy journey rounded out our meaningful hours of discussion. Then we prayed together.
They knew, as we know, He is our only Hope; our Shield and Defense.
God of all Nations, You speak all languages, and You alone understand the language of the heart. In You all barriers are broken. Jesus the Cornerstone, the Solid Rock, the Firm Foundation. God here and God there. You are a mighty God. A big God, indeed. And we praise You!