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La Saison Sec[he]*

May 24, 2016

Dry Season has arrived.  Can I just tell you guys how much I love dry season?  I hate being hot.  I hate it so much that it is a continually sanctifying experience, and I lose the battle often.  When God called Matthew to Alaska and then called me to Matthew, I was like, “Oh God, you get me, you really do.  I hate being hot and love cold and snow.  Alaska is perfection.”  And it was.  And then God called us out of Alaska and through His awesome ways we have found ourselves here, in Kinshasa.  In Africa.  The Hot capital of Hot, minus the Sun, of course.  Granted, it is not the hottest place in Africa (whereas, our area of Alaska was frequently home to the coldest temperature on EARTH on a given day in winter), but it still gets very hot.  And humid.  So. Much. Moisture.  But, I digress.  Last week dry season began, which here means the temperature has lowered to a less-hot state and I am in my happy place.  The kids have been outside all morning and they’re only mildly sweaty, instead of me asking them if they’ve been playing in the water.  And I have turned OFF the air conditioners.  Can you imagine?  A month ago, I couldn’t turn the air conditioners cold enough!  Blessed, blissful dry season.  I mean, it’s still Africa, I will turn the air conditioners on again in a few hours as the afternoon sun beats through the dry season haze, but I’m so so so grateful.

The downfall to dry season is that is during the “summer” months, which is when our team mates who have children in school, leave to go on short furloughs in order to be back in time for school to begin again in the “fall.”  So, this season will be dry in a new way: our friends are almost all leaving for at least a portion of the next three months.  Ah, well, there is a time for everything under the sun.  We have a home school year to finish, since we took so many breaks: Christmas trip to Vanga, moving, Vanga baby and recovery, we will be going strong until August (after which we will get our own little break, but more on that later).  We have a neighborhood to get to know.  Moving in January and being hugely pregnant and constantly tired, then having a baby and a slow recovery (and did I mention it was unbearably hot outside?), we have yet to be good neighbors.  So, with cooler temperatures and no longer an infant, we hope to change that in these next few weeks and months.
But, as our team tag-teams and takes breaks back to the states (and Canada) over the next little bit, could you be praying for us and them?  This life here is not easy.  Breaks are necessary to avoid completely burning out.  While we are holding on to Jesus for our strength, sometimes we need each other and some familiarity (in people and culture and language) to be able to strengthen our grip on Him who is holding us.  That is why these little (or big) trips to our other home are necessary and restorative.
And a few of my team mates have really done an amazing job expressing some really powerful thoughts on this the past few weeks.  If you truly want to get to know us, and them, and this missionary life in general, let me point you to some really cool spots.  While this may seem like a “downer” list when read all at once, I think it’s exactly the opposite. Admitting it’s hard to those outside of this place is the first step to saying: I want to stay (after a break)!  I love it (except when I don’t)!  It’s hard, but hear me out and PRAY for me (because I am confident in God’s call for us to be here)!
First, the realities of life here, in the tiniest examples, make it good and bad.  Tasha does an amazing job to describing it.  Then Vanessa gives an honest look at when things aren’t going well, what are the next steps to get help.  And Nancy gives me (and all of us) a reminder of the power of suggestion versus the realities of difficult times and avoiding the gray area in-between.  And none of these need to be specific to life overseas or to missionaries.  We ALL experience hard times.  And we can all be aware of the goodness around us in the middle of it.
I am grateful for the cooler weather, the health of our family, the relationships we have with our teammates here in Kinshasa, the ability for them to take the breaks they need in order to be ready to do the work here, and for a God who sees, knows, and provides all.
*A note on the title: If you’re making fun of my bad French, then just know this is a cultural nod to the fact that more often than not, I hear “la saison sec” instead of the proper “la saison seche.”  I suppose it is because French is a learned language here, often a third or fourth language, and matching male and female nouns and adjectives may not always be high on the priority list.
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