Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Why are you here?

My favourite time of year in South Africa or LA is Autumn. The month of May in SA is simply stunning. Clear skies. Warm sun, dry cold breeze. Wispy clouds. Autumn leaves. Chilly nights with blankets and coffee. Ahhh.

The question “how do you like it in South Africa?” comes in waves. I don’t hear it for a while, and I feel like I’m “normal” living here as an American. Yesterday our building inspector for our house was American, and Clint was like….how come you didn’t ask him where he was from in America? I didn’t even pick up he was American! The accents blend in my mind cause I’ve lived here for over 2 years now, so I guess I forget that I’m foreign. But then like a splash of cold water it will come and I’ll get asked ten times in two weeks “where are you from?” “why are you here if your American?” "How do you like South Africa?”

It’s so weird but I always just stand there dumbfounded that they’ve asked me this question. It’s an obvious question, of course. I think its weird for me cause in my mind the answer to the question is the same whether I live in SA or LA or Timbucktu. But explaining that to someone who is waiting for a quick but polite answer for me is often difficult. Our purpose for living on the planet is to glorify God, no matter where we are. So it just doesn't seem super strange to me that I'm living here. But for the sake of the person asking I always feel like I should come up with a canned answer I can just pop open at any moment. If its someone I’ve never met….it usually starts off with something about moving out from seminary in LA and that my husband is a pastor and SAfrican, etc. Which usually leads to opportunities to speak to complete strangers about the Lord, (who knew my accent would lead to awesome conversations about the gospel someday?) Even with Noah’s name I often get “oh that’s a Biblical name, are you a Christian?” which leads to why we named him that (Noah was a preacher of righteousness) which leads to what Noah was preaching, salvation from sin.

I am here in SA because of the Lord’s work to be done at Hillcrest Baptist and supporting my husband and family in that work for His glory. It would be the same if we lived anywhere really. I like the questions now because it helps to remind me why I am here in SA, or here in the world really, to proclaim the salvation through Jesus to all nations!
So. My answer might seem strange to most. And that's why I usually stare at the person asking it for a few seconds trying to articulate this concept. And why I get the usual "but what about the crime? and the politics? etc." But those things really don't bug me. Seriously. Our home is an eternal one in heaven! This doesn't mean that I don't miss LA, cause I do, alot sometimes. I can't wait to be there in a few weeks time! But its often a good reminder to me that I should be longing for our eternal home in heaven even more.

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