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Showing posts from October, 2016

Parasites, Poverty, Pumpkins, and Pho

It’s not the endless armies of cockroaches or soldier ants storming our doors (and windows). Not the parasites extruding from the mango fly I killed near an enormous display of laundry drying inside -- for two days -- to avoid mango flies (washed this laundry again, because #firsttermmissionary). Not the incapacity to access the internet most of the time on most days. Not the months, and months, and months of deluge. Not the constant chorus of “white man!” and giggles whenever I take my kids out of the house. Not the complete lack of private space and quiet time in a culture whose hospitality I admire but do not fully understand. Each of these challenges to my privileged existence ran through my mind as I considered my friend’s question: what is the hardest part about living in Africa so far? Furthermore, it's not the extensive cooking process (starting with scrubbing and bleaching everything and ending with the inability to replace/repair broken kitchen items), nor complete

On Achieving the Age At Which Jesus Died

Thirty-three: the age Jesus was when He died. I have now achieved the age of the man who split history in half, brought God’s redemption to earth, and changed billions of lives (including mine). Reflecting on this milestone, I find myself  waxing philosophical on this surprisingly un-rainy day in West Africa. What does it mean to live a great life? Not just a good life. Not a culturally normative, politically correct, small town, little family, Hallmark cozy life. A great life. A great life is an arrow pointing to something greater. Even Jesus, whose life and teachings managed to challenge and revolutionize the sociopolitical and religious systems of the ancient and modern worlds, pointed to the Father. Is this the life I want? Am I really living to exalt the Great name of our God, or merely to satisfy the desires of my deceitfully inconstant heart? The past few days, the theme of God’s great faithfulness has been brought to my eyes and ears repeatedly. My aunt, who e-mailed