Life is never dull in our sandy city. This week we experienced a series of wind storms called haboob. Funny name, I know. They aren’t like the ones in Sudan where you would see a wall of sand coming your way and you knew to run for cover. They are more subtle here. The sky turns from blue to a light brown, the wind kicks up and next thing you know you are right in the middle of it.
We were with some friends taking an afternoon boat ride when the haboob hit. I had my sunglasses with me (thankfully) so as to avoid all of the sand pelting my eyes. My skin has never looked fresher. The point of the trip was to visit a Nubian village and eat lunch. By the time we arrived, I had a tan complexion. So did my other boat mates. We were covered. We brushed ourselves off as best we could and had a lovely time.
The dust continued for another day which means our home had a thin layer of dust on everything. Nothing is sealed here so even with everything closed, dust still finds it’s way in. So do ants, but that’s another story.
We received word that elections should be coming soon here and to remain “vigilant” when walking out and about. (That’s the word the U.S. Embassy uses when issuing it’s weekly updates.) If you ask 10 different people on the street about the elections, you will hear 10 different opinions. We try to remain apolitical through it all because 1) it’s a two-edged sword and 2) political reform is not the point of our presence. So we do a lot of listening, asking questions and trying to understand.
One such discussion was with a local man in our village who is extremely sharp. He speaks at least 5 languages and is well-versed in just about everything. He dropped by our home one evening and discussed his latest project. We discussed the sandstorms, the elections and his current work. Soon he took his leave and said that he and his wife would come back next week.
Yesterday he returned but without his wife. He explained that she is expecting their first child and was experiencing trouble. The doctor ordered bed rest and that is where she was. We listened as he poured his heart out about their worries and his wife’s concern. John listened as I served tea. We sipped and discussed until he changed the topic. At the end of his visit, I presented him with a bag of items for his wife to relax. I had included a bottle of Bath & Bodyworks bath gel, lip gloss and a Yankee candle. (Any woman anywhere would like that…) I included a note telling her that we were praying for her.
As he began to leave, John asked if we could pray for him and his wife. Our friend agreed. After, he hugged John and paused. Then he hugged him again. He was visibly moved. He later sent an email thanking us for the gifts and for the prayer.
So while the “big things” in the country are happening, “big things” of the heart are taking place as well. While God firmly has a handle on world events, I also believe He is fully aware of individual events…caring, moving. Allowing us to demonstrate the “personalness” of God is our greatest privilege. The wind is shifting…subtly, sometimes imperceptibly but knowing that just like a haboob, we find ourselves in the middle of what God is doing. So great.