Living overseas for an extended period of time can cause you to become numb to your surroundings. You are always reminded of the crazy things that have become your normal when volunteers arrive. They are seeing it all with fresh eyes. Are people riding motos with their sheep/goat not a normal thing everywhere? You mean masked men chasing random bystanders down the street is frowned upon where you live? Do donkeys not roam the highways in the US? Does public transportation back home ignore the challenge of stacking baggage sky-high for a cross country trip? These things rarely catch my eye anymore. Occasionally there will be something so over-the-top that I have to stop and snap a picture. But for the most part, the ridiculous has become part of the rhythm of everyday life.
The numbness presents itself in more serious ways, as well. It’s easy to lose sight of why we are here. We get caught up in the busyness of life. Drama at church demands our attention. Visits have to be made to keep folks from griping about how long it’s been since the last time they saw you. Bills have to be paid. Repairs need to be done. And the list goes on and on. You feel weary and think at times you are just spinning your wheels. Why are you really here?
And then something happens that serves as a wake-up call. A bush taxi collides with an oncoming car 40km outside of town and 11 of the 19 passengers die. A friend’s older sister is among the injured. As you walk into the emergency area at the hospital, you’re surrounded by people whose lives are being drastically changed by this accident. You see the faces of men, women…kids who will never return home. And later that evening, you get the call that your friend’s older sister died from her injuries.
It’s easy to grow numb to the harshness of life here. But then people you know die. And they don’t know Jesus. It’s heavy. And it’s heartbreaking. But it serves as a reminder that life is short. No guarantee of tomorrow.
It serves as a reminder of why we are here.
As we sat in the village for this lady’s funeral, we were surrounded by people mourning with no hope. They wailed as the body was brought into the compound. They wondered if she had done enough good to be accepted by Allah. And they cried out to a god that will never respond, as her body was put in the ground. No hope. No assurance. No realization of their need for a Savior.
So much darkness.
But that’s why we are here. To share of the hope that is within us. To share about a God who sent his only son to save a lost and dying world. And to share about a love that can and will transform families, villages and nations.
Pray for the people of Burkina Faso. Pray that they will come to know God as Father and Jesus as Lord and Savior. And pray for those of us living and working among the lost. Ask that we not grow weary, and that we share the good news with a sense of urgency and that we would be found loving others well.