Yesterday I had to drive all the way from Johannesburg to the border of Mozambique, cross over the border, turn around down the hill and come right back. The law has it in Mozambique, and possibly South Africa as well, that we can only have our Mozambican registered car in South Africa for 30 day at a time or huge fines will be incurred on approaching the border. So I took off at 4:30 in the car, hoping that Jenny would not go into labor while I was 4-6 hours away.
Everything went smoothly and it was once again wonderful to drive through Mpumalanga Province and past Nelspruit through some of what is arguably one of South Africa's nicest landscapes. The country falls away from the 'high veld' (high plains) to the 'lowveld' (tropical savanna) leaving a mix of green hills covered in grass, trees, aloe and purple flowering trees with orchards and farms interspersed in the valleys. It was a good time of reflection and time alone where I could think about the comging transition to the US. Oh, yes, for those who do not know, we are coming back to the US. We are actually coming earlier than expected since budgets have and will be tight within MCC Mozambique. It is good timing though and I think we are ready. But it is also a scary and uncertain time.
Jenny has often commented that I find God in the beauty of nature. I think most people that have known me would shake their head in affirmation. It seems that when I am in that natural beauty God seems to enter in and in a humble way, maybe his thoughts become my thoughts for a time. As I was driving through the hills on my way home I listened to a CD that our friend Rachel had given us when we left Denver. Thanks Rachel. The songs were quite meaningful and I felt the praise rising up within me. I reflected on how the last 5 1/2 years in Mozambique have been quite a journey. It has been hard, yet very good. I have failed many times and acted less then Christ-like in many ways, yet I have given my best and a lot of good fruit came out of it. I could have done more, but I did enough and there are others in the 'great cloud of witnesses' who are carrying it on when we leave. It is wonderful indeed that we are not alone on this journey.
What I did note, however, was that there were many songs that I just couldn't sing. Often I would try but the tears would flow instead. Maybe it is that I used to sing them but the words never sunk in. Or maybe it is that the songs touch something so deep in my soul where I have been hurt, where I have struggled. Maybe it is touches on where the truth of sin, suffering and our brokenness meets with the grace and hope of Jesus's mission of restoration. It is something deep yet very real. What I do know is that there is a real sense that the journey has taught me of my insignificance and significance, my ability to sin and show grace, to succeed and fail and that I have grown but yet am far from perfect. I know deep down that the tears were not from sadness. No, they are the tears that speak of God's faithfullness through it all. Whatever I did or did not do I can still say, or speak with my soul that God is faithful and will continue to be faithful. To speak or sing is too much. It is too true. But the tears speak. I am greatful. If understanding God's faithfullness is all I have gained out of the last 5 1/2 years then it was worth every minute.
Thunderstorms I am loving South African weather. I think I say that every time I am here. It is just lovely. The temperature is always comfortable, not too hot, not too cold. As soon as it gets hot the thunderstorms start and it cools down again.
It is amazing how fast it changes. I left work and walked home in clear skies and sunny weather. In the 30 minutes we ate the weather changed and clouds began filling the sky. I told Jenny that I should probably get going if I was to make it without getting wet but in reality I thought I had plenty of time. I played about 5 minutes with Nadia and decided to take off. It was at the point that I knew I had better make a break for it or walk back and get an umbrella. So I made a break for it.
I lost. No sooner had I stepped out of the gate and the thunder and drops came. Incredibly fast changing weather. Even Nebraska does not change that fast. A few minutes into the walk it started picking up. I decided to keep close to the eucalyptus trees in hopes of avoiding the worst. It soon became apparent that it was a losing battle. So I ran. But I had a long way to go. Fortunately someone I knew happened by and picked me up but I still got wet running into the office.
No sooner had I entered the office and it poured for a minute and then stopped completely.