At some point in the past few months, a change has taken place. We are no longer going to church "in Africa". We're just going to church. We are no longer driving around "in Africa". We're just driving where we need to go. All of the children are still in the same Bible class, regardless of age. The songs are still in Swahili. I still preach through a translator. People still drive on the left side of the very crowded road. However, the same sights and sounds that once seemed strange and exotic have become normal and commonplace. How did that happen???
Through time and repetition people can become accustomed to most anything. It occurred to me that sin operates in much the same way. Being surrounded by patterns of behavior, dress, and speech make those things quickly seem normal, even if they are in fact a perversion of how life ought to be. Once sin loses its shock value, then it is only a short journey onward to being considered acceptable.
Of course the cultural differences that we face are pretty harmless because we are not dealing with right and wrong. However, sin is extremely dangerous, and our attitudes toward it are of great importance. Sin is INEVITABLE, but it is never ACCEPTABLE. This is true in society at large, as well as in our own lives. We must carefully guard our hearts to avoid becoming so accustomed to sin that it seems like "normal" behavior. As Proverbs 4:23 says it, "Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life."
Taking a Break
School was out last week, as the students received a week off in between quarters. We have been very busy lately, and took the opportunity for some much needed time off ourselves. Mental and physical breaks are vital to longevity in the work of the Lord. Even God rested after a busy week of creation, and Jesus often withdrew for revitalizing alone time. We owe many thanks to Nathan and Jessica McVeigh for keeping the kids for us while Tiffany and I had some time to ourselves. Now we are refreshed and ready to tackle a new quarter.
I have a prayer request to share with you. We have a sister in Christ - let's call her "Naomi" (not her real name) - who is in great need of prayer. She lives in desperate circumstances with her small children and her drunkard husband who practices witchcraft. Her circumstances are having serious effects on her mental stability and her children's health and safety. Pray that God will help her family, and that if there is a way for us to offer real help that He will make it clear to us.