Friday, December 8, 2017

The Little Things

Life can often feel difficult and depressing – at least that is a current struggle here for us in South Sudan. But in the midst of that, I was reflecting recently on several specific things we are grateful for here in Juba, that refresh our bodies and spirits. Here are a few of the ‘little things’ in life that give us joy:

1. People in our neighborhood we have gotten to know, who have welcomed us into their lives. Like Mary, the owner of the tea-shop that we frequent, who invited us to the end-of-year celebration at her daughter’s school. Or Helen Frederick, who called us to say that she had a new grandchild, and invited us to stop by and visit the baby.

One of the kindergarten graduates

2. Recent steps of improvement in Bob’s health. The journey with Epstein-Barr has been a long, twisted road and constant ups and downs. But just last week Bob felt up for preaching at church (with only 1 day’s notice!), and overall his energy is much improved from a few months ago, as long as he is not sick with a bad cold or sometthing else.

Bob talks to some kids after the church service last week

3. Dinner on the river. While we lament that insecurity prevents us from traveling freely outside of the city, we are grateful for some restaurants near us that provide a diversion, fun food, and sometimes a refreshing view of nature. This week we happened to be at this restaurant on the night of the full moon, and got to watch it rise over the river!

Dinner with friends at a restaurant on the Nile River –
such a refreshing change from the dust and heat of the city.

4. Our mosquito net. We put up a net a few months ago after too many nightly battles with mosquitos.While sleep is still a challenge for us, we are grateful that at least we are not getting bit by mosquitos, and we do not have malaria!
5. The variety of fruits and vegetables available here. We make fruit smoothies often, which we could not do in Congo because of lack of electricity. And we eat big colorful kale salads, a delcious meal in warm weather. It still feels like luxury to be able to get a red bell pepper or celery in the middle of Africa.
kale salad
One of our favorite kale salads

6. Consistent internet. Not fast enough to stream movies, but at least we can usually download podcasts or music or use Skype to connect with family and friends far away. We are grateful for this technology that gives us options for news, inspiration, and communication.

7. Church in English – This also still feels like a novelty after our years in Kananga. Once in awhile when we do not have a scheduled church visit on a Sunday, we enjoy worshipping and fellowship in English with new friends from many different countries.

8. Evening walks in the neighborhood: The sliver of time between when the sun is going down and when it gets dark is a great time to enjoy some fresh air without it being too hot outside. We are so grateful to be able to stroll through our neighborhood and sometimes have some good conversations as we get to know people.

9. A good story – This year we got on a roll of reading a book together – usually reading a little before bed. Whether a memoir, or a novel, or something inspiring, we appreciate having our perspectives expanded and imagining what is possible.

10. Simon, one of the guards of our building. Simon is a policeman assigned to our building. He is here night and day, and is one of the friendliest, happiest people we have met. He is very hard to understand (perhaps because he is missing several teeth), but he likes to joke around and help us practice Arabic. There are many people who we appreicate in South Sudan, but Simon certainly makes our lives a little brighter as we come and go each day.


Jim B said...

This is a great example of celebrating the little things so that when the big things come you are ready with a worthy celebration.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing snapshots of your life together. May peace surround you, and many Divine appointments. I miss y'all!!! Patti Lacy

Kathe Mauldin said...

Enjoying your Snapshots from Sudan. Thankful you are able to enjoy some cool evenings (my favorite parts of summer). Prayer for you both this Christmas season. ������ & blessings upon blessings. ������

Anonymous said...

What a lovely and inspiring letter that reminds me to be grateful for the "little things" in my life. I would like to tell a story about my days living at Tshikaji, which is about 15 miles from Kananga, DRC. Most Friday evenings a group of us missionaries would pile into a car and drive the dirt road into Kananga, which had no electricity and so the whole town was dark except for lanterns and candles. The outdoor restaurant knew we were coming. The food was cooked over an open fired and was delicious. One of the missionary couples had a new baby and we felt like watching the baby was the best entertainment we could possible have. It is a wonderful memory of Kananga days.