One of my favorite sessions at MTI last year was one on grief and loss. We discussed 6 areas of guaranteed loss that we would face when living and working in a new culture. As I begin the process of reflecting on my first year here in Kenya, I continue to be drawn back to that session and it has become the filter through which I have been thinking about the last 10 months. I will be sharing about these losses and some related gains in each area over the next couple of months.
Efficiency is my love language. Sometimes when I see things come together in quick, logical fashion, I have trouble sleeping at night because I lie there and think about it (I wish I was kidding…).
Clearly, the place where I will feel most at ease and fulfilled is in a culture where relationships are more important than tasks and knowing how to ask a question or make a request plays a far greater role in making things happen than knowing you were the first in line (previous sentence to be read sarcastically…if you didn’t do it the first time, go ahead a try again). To say the least, the pace of life and work is slower here than I am used to.
If I had written this post a week ago, I could have listed 10 different goals I was working on for 3 months that I was hoping to accomplish before I am out for a few weeks in May. Not one of them had been met. Two weeks ago, looking at that same list, I sent a text to a friend saying that if someone were to offer me a ticket home, I would take it. I tend to gauge my value to a job by the output I can show for it and with almost 3 months under my belt, all I could show was a list of things I wish I could get done. I felt like I was working hard, but nothing was happening. I was spinning my wheels and going nowhere. I began to pray for traction.
This week has been different. I just want to list off all of the things that have finally fallen into place in the last 3 days:
– Hearing aids that have been stuck in customs for a month arrived on Monday. This also means that we can set prices for hearing aids and begin calling the 25 patients who have been waiting to know how much they will need to pay.
– Compressed air and suction are being run into the ENT building (exciting, I know, but we cannot move into this new building without them)
– An Ears to Hear™ account has been established at the hospital, which means people can donate directly to the hospital to help purchase hearing aids for our needy patients. (The link for that is here, if you’re interested. Use the code ETH1 to designate donations for hearing aids)
– We established an application and screening process for helping us to decide which of our patients will be supported by our hearing aid donation project. This was very important as we are working to use the limited resources we have in the wisest way possible.
– The materials for the furniture in the building have been ordered and we should have furniture in by the time our visiting otologist arrives in June. A donation for the exact cost of the furniture was also made recently, which is just a bonus.
Ever have one of those weeks where you feel like God is just showing off? Like once you finally reach the end of your own strength and patience, He does a whole bunch of stuff so that you aren’t even tempted to take credit for it? Yeah, that’s been my week. And. it’s. awesome.
So, yes, goals are hard to accomplish here and take a bit more time than I might be used to. And some days putting in effort with no result is exhausting and discouraging. But then there are days when the Lord answers months of prayers and you finally get to see everything come together and start working. These are good markers for me along the way. In 6 months when my wheels are spinning again, I get to point back to this week and remember the Lord’s faithfulness and the fact that it really is Him who accomplishes all of this anyway. In being reminded of that repeatedly, I am learning bit by bit to strive a little less and pray a lot more. In all, not a bad trade.
Other posts in this series: