Word must have gotten out about our Saturday morning runs. As we ran down the dirt road this morning, kids came running out of their grass houses like little ants scurrying out of an ant bed. For some reason today they decided to run alongside of us, for a little ways at least, perhaps for lack of anything better to do with their lives at 7:30 in the morning. At one point as I looked behind me, there were about 25 kids ranging in age from 5-12 running behind me and just giggling at who knows what. I wasn’t really sure what to think about it or for that matter, what was so darn funny, but I knew I liked it. These kinds of scenes really don’t happen that often here. I just hope they don’t get the idea that they are ever going to be fast enough to beat me or Kim. Just saying….it won’t happen : )
The smell of rain is in the air…and we couldn’t be more thrilled! We were sure that any day now, our skin would literally dry up and just flake off of our bodies due to the dryness. It has been 6 months since rainy season ended and for the last 2-3 months the air has been coated with a thick cloud of dust. The sky has literally been hazy from all of the dust, to the point that you can barely see the mountains that surround us in the very near distance. We have been watching anxiously for the first signs of rain and now we finally have that fresh, clean, rain smell in the air. Glory!
Rain here means many things. For the locals, it means water for the livestock and drinking water in their houses, it means being able to begin plowing the previously rock hard soil, it means preparing for planting season. For us, it means an extra layer of moisture (i.e. sweat) soaking through our shirts when we run, it means water for showers in the tank at our house, it means less dust pouring into our house from the road in front of us. For this country, it means the beginning of all that was dead and dry and hard coming to new life once again. As beautiful as the landscape was this past summer and fall, it has been just as not-so-pretty these past couple of months with everything around us dead, dry, and covered in dust.
As we ran this morning down the freshly rained-on dirt road where we could literally taste the moisture in the air and feel the fresh breeze blowing through us, I thought about how God makes all things new. In his time. I thought about how he brought me to Africa with a hard, dry, and hurting heart full of broken dreams, bitterness, and death. Those things weren’t on the surface of course, but they were there deep underneath, so deep that I’m not even sure I realized how much was there. As I look back over this past year and three months, I see where he has taken that brokenness and dryness and death and he has begun to redeem it for himself. It would seem that he brought me to Africa to bring new life to my heart. I know that he could have done it in America – he is sovereign like that – but he didn’t. He chose to bring me to Africa and Africa is where he chose to bring new life to my hard, dry soul once again. There will be hard seasons yet again in my life, but he will still be God in those as well, and he will make all things new once again. For now, I am grateful to see his fresh rain fall on this hard and dusty land and to know that in the same way, his spirit and his love has softened and renewed my heart once again.