What an extraordinarily difficult transition!
Our family is going through transition too, albeit not nearly as traumatic as the camp dwellers in western Africa.
For ten years we have been blessed with being able to see change happening in communities in western Africa. In the midst of much negative change, we have also witnessed positive changes as people learn to dream, plan, and work together. We have met some wonderful people. We have worked to improve access to food, water, learning, income, and health. We have shared about Jesus with people who knew very little about him. And now we are leaving this place we love, and moving 7,000 kilometers across the continent to southern Africa, a completely different context.
The landscape there is very different from the Sahel, the region of western Africa in which we now live. So is the food, and the language, and the clothing. We’ll have to learn to drive on the other side of the road, and where to buy the things our family needs. We’ll learn about new cultures and their history. We’ll learn the art of border crossings. We’ll meet a lot more people. At times it seems daunting. Yet we remain hopeful.
We are grateful for all God has given us. We think of people in the refugee camps, like the woman who shared, “We left everything behind! All we had left was what we were wearing.” Unlike this woman, we'll be able to say good bye to friends before we leave. On January 7, 2017, Lord willing, we will get to board airplanes instead having to walk, or having to run into the bush. God has provided a house for us to rent, exactly what we were praying for. Instead of complaining about how much clutter we have in our lives, I can be grateful that we are able to take luggage with us!
But it’s still hard to choose what to take, and it’s hard to leave. We are grieving the people, things, and dreams we’ll leave behind. Perhaps God needs to remove those things so that we can more fully surrender to him?
Transition is not easy, especially when it comes unexpectedly, as it has for many refugees. And yet World Renew’s work in trauma healing is helping to restore hope. Pray for refugees around the world!
Farmers in southern Africa are needing to change too, as they face the consequences of the worst drought in 35 years. World Renew, with support from the Canadian Foodgrains Bank (CFGB), is helping 3,000 households in Malawi and Zambia. Pray that these responses will increase their hope!
Some people get excited by change. Others dread it, or strongly oppose it. In the communities where World Renew works we see both excitement and opposition. But we also see those things in ourselves. We feel both excitement and some dread about beginning anew in an unfamiliar context. Pray with us! It won’t be easy. Yet we are humbled for this unique opportunity to be involved in God’s work, as he is touching lives. He is changing the story from suffering to Hope (with a capital H). Hope eases transitions and is changing our story too.
Southern Africa Team Leader