"In the Land of Blue Burkas" is the title of a book (recently downloaded into my kindle) written by a single Christian American woman sharing stories of living in Afghanistan while working for an NGO. She brings to life the Muslim women living there through her candid conversational stories. It has lead me into a stunningly fresh appreciation for my Savior Jesus Christ. As the writer tells stories of the realities of the Muslim women there I am able to see afresh with startling clarity why Jesus is The Way, The Truth, and The Life. In the chapter entitled "Choosing Love" the author very honestly maps out the difficulties she faced daily living in that foreign place. She shared the staggering weight of her responsibilities in directing the efforts of the NGO which included managing projects, writing proposals, maintaining financial records, attending government meetings, etc, the list goes on, all while leading both an Afghan and foreign staff. During that time she worked with sketchy electricity, slow internet connection, oppressive heat in the summer and blindingly cold brutal winters. She poignantly points out she was there ultimately to express love to her neighbors. And those neighbors were made up of bearded men and blue burka-ed women living lives following hard after their Muslim teachings. She shares many conversations where she and whomever she was with would talk about life and faith. They about theirs and she about hers. It is amazing to see the contrast of the Muslim faith and the Christian faith. Reading this book has been a gift of inspiration to me during this time. I recommend it highly.
I am truly enjoying teaching my beginners English class. I have about 11 students, mostly made up of the nurses and staff of the clinics at Avea II. They are a joy to teach! It is giving me a tangible way to contribute other than just running the guest house. My favorite part of the days I teach (other than the actual teaching) are the glimpses I get of spectacular sunsets, each one uniquely and brilliantly coloring the sky and clouds, changing minute by minute in aching beauty with a spectrum of pink, yellow, orange, red, blue and purple hues reflected in the shining sea as I drive home by way of Bord de Mer amidst the crush of pedestrians and clotted traffic. So far life in Libreville adjusting to a new normal has been a lesson of being strong and courageous, of not being discouraged. I was led to Joshua 1:9 the very day after Hannah left. I penned these words in my prayer journal, "The US has elected a president, Hannah has flown to Senegal and Steve is flying to Bongolo. And I sit alone in a hot house, music playing and fans whirling, praying to you Holy God." And so it has begun, a new normal.
"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you where ever you go." Joshua 1:9