We had a fairly quiet Sunday yesterday which was a fabulous contrast to the constant busy-ness that one cannot help to avoid when you move in a week while still continuing to work, home school and squeeze in helping the couple from the Congo apply for social security cards and learn to do laundry. Can I just say it is hard to move to America! But it so awesome to do for others what people did for us 5 years ago. God placed African friends in our lives to help us when we could not shop, cook, or pretty much do anything. They became our friends and shared their lives and culture with us. And we were so greatly blessed by them. And now God in His grace has allowed us to help people here. We understand a small part of what they are going through. And although we choose to go to Africa and had abundant resources we do understand the feeling of not getting anything. The overwhelming feeling of not being able to communicate, of feeling confused every second, or not understanding basic cultural rules. It is wicked hard and humbling.
The first night we met them J and I said goodbyes and got in the car and I immediately started tearing up. Jason understood. He knew that the way they told us to allow our girls to jump around and tear up the joint with smiles was refreshingly familiar He knew that explaining the difference between African milk and American milk made us remember the many days we laughed and cried about such small differences that really feel like huge chasms when you are the one who doesn't get it. He knew that a lesson in what a freezer does and how to cook with a stove was needed. Because we have a new vantage point of having had to learn when everything is confusing and new.
Tonight the girls and I spent 3 hours helping them pay bills at the Currency Exchange, do a few loads of laundry, and kill the time we were waiting with some impromptu English lessons that had a crowd of folks at the laundromat laughing at us while the girls acted out verbs we were learning. And can I just say I was so proud of my girls. Anni wanted to bake them cakes and they both colored, played, and helped them even though it was a long time in kid world to wait. It was all a blessing. I have been the stranger and the welcome I received made me understand in a new way why God commands us to care for the foreigner among us. It is to remind us we were once foreigners and God made us a part of His family through His mercy and love. It is undeserved and unmerited and that is what makes it amazing.
And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt. Deut. 10:19
He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit. Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household. Ephesians 2:17-19.I pray our welcome for this family points to the one we have received.