Ed – I stand to be corrected…turns out I also fail at geography. Dar Es Salaam is not the capital of TZ!!! After a spot of research, I’ve learned that Dar was the capital city until 1996 when Dodoma was made capital. Who knew?! Not me!
Last weekend I escaped Nairobi for the sunnier shores of Dar Es Salaam (one of Tanzania’s largest cities – for all those who failed geography!). I went to visit some friends that I taught English to when I was still living in Brighton and working at Olivet English Language School. Tobias and Sarah, originally from Germany, had flown over from Malawi where they work as missionaries in a small rural village. They were in Tanzania for a short holiday and had arranged the mini-reunion with Robert, Lisbeth and myself. Robert and Lisbeth are from Denmark but now live in Dar with their three gorgeous children working for Soma Bibilia. They were excellent hosts in feeding us and showing us round the city, and special thanks to Espen (4 years) for giving up his bed for me!
The weekend was so great. I never realised how much of an impact living in such a big, polluted city has on me until I’m able to escape it. The palm tree-lined white beaches and blue seas of Dar certainly provided that escape. In fact, I was very tempted (still am a bit…) to stay. Find a job. Leave Nairobi. The city is much cleaner and less busy than Nairobi, and with no matatus, the traffic is still there but much less chaotic. Aah, what bliss! But no, fear not Nairobians. Much as I loved Dar, I love the people of Nairobi more and I don’t know how much I’d appreciate the beauty of the city if I lived there permanently.
It was also so great to see Robert, Lisbeth, Tobias and Sarah again. There was something so special about being able to meet, coming from three different home countries in Europe and now living, on the same mission of trying our best to serve God in three different countries in Africa. Lisbeth and I were talking about how we imagine God having this big world map, like a big game plan where he sees our hearts and our abilities as well as those around us and knows where best to place us. So he picks me up from the UK and he puts me down in Nairobi. So he picks up Sarah and Tobias from Germany and puts them down in Malawi. And he picks up Robert and Lisbeth from Denmark and places them down in Tanzania. Knowing what he’s doing. Seeing the bigger picture.
It’s all part of the game plan, don’t you see? And He involves us in that!! Isn’t that great?! And even if we can’t see the bigger picture, even if we don’t have that big overview, it doesn’t mean that we’re not part of it. Sometimes I can become so focussed on my little life and those around me that I forget I’m part of a grander plan. That’s there’s things going on beyond the little life that I live, the little bubble of a world that I’m in. No, there’s a bigger battle going on, God knows the game plan and me…where do I fit into this?? Well, in awe of God, I feel it’s not my place to ask. When looking at things this way, I feel I play an incredibly small part in God’s strategy that stretches not only as far as the east is from the west, but also across centuries, millenniums even. Centuries of warrior Christians going before me and centuries of warrior Christians ahead of me, each with their small yet significant part to play in God’s game plan.
So who am I to ask, to question where I fit? No, my job is to trust. Trust and obey. Yeah. Easier said than done, I know!
But I also know, know that me…I’m on the winning side! Hoorah!
So there we go. Seems the African sun and sea made me a bit contemplative. Lessons learnt in amongst laughter, food, beach and relaxing times. And if anyone wants to pay for another plane ticket for me to hop over the boarder again (too far by bus, you see), well…I wouldn’t complain!! 😉