I went to my meeting at African Hope school at 9:30 expecting to be done by 10:30 at the latest. Expecting everyone to be there on time. Expecting to focus solely on the issue at hand. Clearly its been a long time since I interacted with the Sudanese!
Aside from starting 20 minutes late (one person actually didn't arrive until 10:30 anyway), we talked for only about 15 minutes before we had to break for staff prayer meeting. That was when I started wondering how long I'd be there. :-) As it turned out, the prayer meeting wasn't all that long, AND had a really good message which I'd like to share.
Pastor Peter (Pastor of the Sudanese Community Church and also a counselor at African Hope) had us start by looking up Luke 9:62. "Jesus replied (to the man who wanted to say good-bye to his family before following Christ), 'No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.'" Peter talked about how we need to look forward, to what God is calling us to rather than looking back. Okay.
Here's the part that got me - Next we turned to Numbers (what are we going to find in Numbers??) 11:5. The Israelites are complaining, after God has called them to the Promised Land and given them manna to eat in the wilderness. "We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost - also the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions, and garlic." As we were reading this I was thinking, "I remember the bacon we ate in Indiana at no cost - also the sausage, ham, hot dogs, and frozen pizzas." (Maybe you think this is a weird list, but hey, some of my favorite foods that we can't get here.) I realized I've been looking back a lot at how good things were in the States, whether while we were in Wheaton or recently when we stayed with my parents in Indiana. And yet, God has been moving me forward, toward something better for me, and all I can do is look back and say, Oh if only I had bacon again! Wow.
Pastor Peter went on to say that God was working for the Israelites good, and he was trying to transform them spiritually and bless them through following his plan. But they were so focused on material comforts that all they did was look back and complain. I had a really hard time coming back to Egypt after our evacuation in February, and thought of all sorts of things I was NOT looking forward to. But God has something for me here; this is where he's brought me and I should be looking forward instead of back.
After prayer we went back to our meeting and were done by 11:30 (not bad, all things considered).