Thursday, September 11, 2008

A Day of Rest

Taking a sabbath rest...interesting idea that I've never really solidified in my life. Yes, we go to church on Sunday and don't go to the office, but is that all there is to a sabbath rest? I don't think so. I tended to use Sundays as a day to get caught up at home. I never mentally took a true rest. God ordained a day of rest. Did God need to rest? No, but I believe he wanted to subject creation to a rhythm of rest.

During a Bible study I attended we were encouraged to find a way of taking a sabbath rest. One friend said their family takes a sabbath from 4 p.m. Saturday til 4 p.m. Sunday. I asked why they stopped at 4 p.m. Sunday. She said they always have homework to finish up and lunches to get packed for Monday morning. Fair enough. I decided to give it a try.

I've been working on taking a sabbath rest for about 5 weeks now. I find myself really looking forward to this mini-vacation in the midst of a normal week. I must admit, it takes a very conscious effort to plan to 'do nothing.' It involves planning ahead with meals. I try to have some things on hand that I just need to heat up. The main thing I need to do is make sure I don't get on the computer...because that quickly turns into work.

During our sabbath rest, I read a lot--to the kids and just for myself. I've been trying to take naps on Sunday, but I haven't been very successful yet.

Sunday is a big visiting day in Nigeria, but we basically stay home. If we go out, it's just to Bezer Home for a hike. One weekend we went on hikes both on Saturday and Sunday. When is the last time I was such a carefree mother to just jump in the car and do something like that?

The mental break gained from a sabbath rest has definitely been worth it. I find that I'm very refreshed and ready to meet the challenges of the new week. One time my refreshed state of mind back-fired on me. I was feeling so rested, I decided just to check a few emails one Sunday night after the kids were in bed. At 1 a.m. I finally got off the computer. Monday morning came a little too quickly! Hopefully I won't repeat that mistake!

Looking forward to Saturday afternoon!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Open Doors

At our staff meeting for the Self-Sustainability (sewing) Program, on September 1, I announced that we would not take any more women into the sewing program until January 2009. An hour after our meeting was over, Sarah, our head counselor, met me and told me to sit down.

After our staff meeting, Sarah had met with various women who needed to see her. Three stood out:

Tina*, an HIV+ woman in her 40s had recently been laid off from her job as a clerk at the university. She really wanted to join the sewing program because she has no other means of income at this time. She has been without work for 15 months. It is extremely difficult to find a job in Nigeria.

The next woman who came, Janet*, is someone Sarah knew years ago. Sarah described her as being very well-off and pleasantly plump when she knew her in the past. Sarah was surprised to see how emaciated the woman is now. Janet was never able to have children, and when she became sickly due to HIV complications, her relations decided to send her home to the village to die. But Janet wasn’t ready to die. She had heard of Mashiah Foundation and she was determined to come and learn how to sew so she could feed herself.

Then a disabled woman named Nancy* met with Sarah. Nancy’s wheelchair is in need of repair. For the meantime she gets around on her hands. She too has HIV. She survives by selling local brew in her neighborhood. A friend who is HIV+ told her about Mashiah Foundation. Although Nancy will not be able to use a treadle sewing machine, we have some other projects that she can do such as beading.

As I listened to Sarah narrate these three stories, I just smiled, and said, “God, what are you up to?” We make our own plans, but God has the final say. I was strongly convinced that we are not to close our doors at this time. Four months is a long time for someone to wait when they are already despairing of life. Instead of closing our doors, we have decided to keep our doors open, knowing that that is what Christ would do.

*names have been changed