I’m heading to Mozambique in less than two months time. The people there, Pastor Daniel and nine churches, have been waiting for me for more than one year and six months.
In Africa this would in fact feel like ten years. It’s been long enough for me here, I cannot imagine the waiting there.
It is an interesting thing building relationships via email and phone and text and facebook, incredibly satisfying and noteworthy.
An invitation to visit a community holds rich flavors that can only be savored over time.
Anticipation grows deep and expectation runs high.
To put oneself in the care of others is the ultimate compliment and is returned with the greatest of hospitality.
Friendships are formed on the basis of mutual strengths and basic need.
Not that everything is smooth sailing. It’s not. There is, in any relationship, the period of ‘storming’ where good intentions and long term commitments are put to the test.
With those we are closest to in Uganda there have been some incredible misunderstandings and frustrations and upset. But now, past the storming, we are even more appreciative of each other than before.
And more committed than before to do whats right by each other.
A month-plus ago we hit a storming with those in Mozambique as well. It was, to me, one of the first signs and assurances that I was indeed going to be traveling and ministering there.
In 2012, on one of my stays with Edith in Uganda my camera was stolen out of my room. It was an awful day.
I was sick to my stomach. Edith was sick to her stomach. All the best of colliding cultures and race was put to the test that day.
And we came out better friends than before. After traversing that test together there is a bond between us that can’t be broken.
It’s what must happen in our cross-cultural ministries. We must be around long enough, and invested deeply enough to have a few fights and to weather uncertainty in each other.
Every long-term committed relationship will have this. Without it we are merely paternalistic and holding ourselves above each other and there is no real heart of service.
I have no idea the exact manner in which my trip to Mozambique will unfold. And for the most part I will be reporting on the God-wonders, the touch of our Holy Spirit, the unique of the land and people, the rich fellowship of sharing meals and hearts.
But there will also be all that doesn’t go well. Communications that will prove less than. Travel details that will frustrate. Expectations that will collide. I won’t be reporting all of these things for they are simply par for the course and what comes of a fellowship of hearts.
But they will be there, and in the midst and under the layers of frustration will be deep gladness.
For even in the storming we are growing together, and bottom line, I am glad to be investing in what is real, not what is perfect.