Chapter three of Ecclesiastes tells us that there is a time and season for everything. In our lives there are times for action and seasons of rest, and while sometimes those seasons are in our control (or so we like to think), other times they are definitely not. The past couple weeks of my life has certainly been a time for rest whether I wanted it to be or not.
Over the past two months we have seen God do some really neat things and unexpectedly open doors to work in the village of Déouté. A couple weeks ago I really felt like things were starting to move along and gain momentum. It might sound weird, but I felt like I was finally getting into a “groove” with my work, ministry, family, and other responsibilities. And then it happened.
I recently bought a cheap motorcycle in order to save gas money on the hour long trips back and forth between our home in Kara and the Lamba region. I’ve never really desired to have a motorcycle, but considering the amount of driving I’ll be doing it doesn’t make sense not to have one.
So after riding it around town for several days just to get the accustomed to it, Andrew Stoff and I headed up for our first trip on our bikes to check out some new villages that we could potentially work in. About 30 minutes outside of town we came to a sharp right turn that I know is full of potholes. I’m very accustomed to taking this corner in our truck, so I suppose that I was mostly watching out for the larger potholes and failed to notice a smaller one directly in front of me as I headed into the turn. Since I didn’t want to be turning while going into a pothole, I straightened out and went through it fine. Directly after the pothole was a big bump, so I couldn’t turn on it either. About 10 feet after the bump was a middle divider with a raised curb, so I had to make the turn pretty quickly. The problem was that a recent rain had washed some loose gravel onto the road in that spot, so once my tires hit that they slipped out and I went down.
My right leg took the brunt of it, getting trapped under the bike and rolled over so that the inside of my leg and foot scraped along the pavement for a few feet before coming to a stop. Thankfully I wasn’t going faster or else it would’ve been much worse. Also, I was wearing Andrew’s extra riding jacket, so that saved my arm from any damage. It really makes me wish that I already had my riding pants and boots that I ordered from the States. They would have made a huge difference and I probably would have walked away from it without a scratch.
So it seems that a perfect storm of bad roads, gravel, and inexperience led to a whole lot of blood and pain, and subsequently two weeks of very little activity. I mostly spent the first week in our living room chair with my foot and knee elevated while I caught up on a good bit of computer work that I had fallen behind on. It was also a good opportunity for me to spend some time reflecting on God and his work in my life. What’s ironic about this whole incident is that I had felt God gently telling me to slow down over the previous few weeks—not slow down as in “don’t do as much work,” but slow down as in, “just stop and listen to what I want to say to you.” I felt like my morning quiet times had become rushed and distracted, my mind preoccupied with things to do, and I had mostly stopped conversing with the Lord throughout the day.
Now, I’m not wanting to encourage the image of God as the “mean old man upstairs” who just waits for us to mess up so he can bonk us on the head, but I am truly thankful for the seasons of life he brings us through—even the unpleasant ones. Because of all this, I feel like my ears are opened a little more and my mind is much less distracted from what is most important in my life.
What really encouraged my heart last week is the report from Andrew after he met with Francis (one of the guys from the Déouté moringa project) and his family for their first Bible study. I wanted to be there so badly, but my leg and foot just wouldn’t let me, so Andrew and Tchéou led it together. They played an audio recording of Genesis 1, then discussed some simple questions about the passage. His whole family was there, and a couple young ladies dropped in and stayed when they heard the Bible being spoken in their own language. They seemed very open and interested, so we went back today for a second study. (I’m just now getting to the point where I can walk around a bit without regretting it too much later!) We are also going to ask another family that’s part of the moringa group if they would like to start a study, so please be praying the God’s Spirit would be doing his work in their lives in the mean time.
I really appreciate your prayers while I’m continuing to recover. The past couple days have been quite a bit better, so I’m hopeful that by next week I can resume a normal schedule and get back to my normal self.
Please keep praying for Déouté, as well as for new opportunities in other villages.