November 26, 2015

Giving Thanks

We have a swimming pool.

Well, our future home here (maybe next week) will have a swimming pool- yes, it is small and currently filled with debris, but it is still a luxury in a country that has spent over a decade in an increasingly dire drought. Needless to say, we will not be filling it with water any time soon.

Cows are still dying here and the capital city not too far away only has a 20 day water supply remaining. Swazis have been asked to use chemical toilets when possible and here we are being asked if we’d like to use our pool. The weight of our relative wealth and privilege feels HEAVY. We want to give thanks for all the blessings God has given us, but that’s difficult when we feel guilty of having them in the first place. As we’ve been running around trying to navigate getting a house, electricity, aircon (A/C), a fridge, furniture, we have been mindful of being good stewards of the resources given by our supporters who have made it financially possible for us to be here.

We know that we need certain conveniences to allow us time to do our jobs well, but it’s still a challenge shopping for a washing machine and refrigerator when we know so many Swazis here don’t even have electricity. In the states, it’s so much easier because, well, everyone has those things. Here, I feel embarrassed to let a Swazi see where we live, our “new” car, or even us as we carry armfuls of groceries out of the store.

“Looking at his disciples, he [Jesus] said: ‘Blessed are the poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh.’”
Luke 6:20-21 NIV

Jesus says this because he knows that wealth can easily distract us from depending on God. In a place where the poor, hungry, and sick are on every corner, we look like the blessed ones instead. I understand that material blessings are a lot easier to see, and so today, Thanksgiving, I want to remember we are blessed not because of what we have, but because of what Christ has done and the love he has shown us.

I don’t think it is “evil” to have wealth, in fact, God blesses King Solomon with great riches (1 Kings 3). The important thing to note is that God explains he did so because Solomon didn’t ask for wealth- his attitude was of humility, only asking for wisdom so that he could serve his people in a God-honoring way. I pray that we will find a balance- not flaunting our wealth here, but also not letting guilt immobilize us. We don’t yet know the “right” way to live, weighing convenience against excess, and I think will be praying a lot about this- it is greatly matters to us that we live here in a God-honoring way.

We do know one thing, we could not be here in this country without our supporters. Thank you so much for everything you’ve done for us. We feel your prayers and love, we see your faithful donations; it’s keeping us moving forward.

Please also continue joining us in praying for more rain to come to Swaziland. Storms come and go (as does the power), but no real sustained downpour yet.

Grace and Peace,

Dirty Pool