The other day, Marc and our neighbor, Henry, went door-to-door in the village sharing the Gospel of the Kingdom. The reception was very positive and there is some follow up that needs to be done as a result–because the idea is to make disciples, not just converts. Many of the people Marc spoke with were women, so if they expressed interest in knowing more or in further follow up, he referred them to me and asked them to drop in for a visit.
One of the ladies said she would come and meet with me the following day at 3:00 in the afternoon. I thought, what an ideal time! The littlest three would all be napping at that time, I already had supper started, and the day’s work was, by-and-large, completed. No children’s chores to oversee until about 4:30, and the big kids would either be finishing school work or enjoying some free time (likely outside). Perfect!
Unfortunately, 3:00 came and went. Suddenly,at 4:30, she appeared at the door–just moments after all the littles had woken up, needed help in the potty, and wanted water and a snack. The big kids now needed me to dump their heavy water containers into the water tank, as their afternoon job involved several trips to the spring. I was also going to need to get food re-heating on the stove and get things going for supper. But…I had to drop everything (as much as possible) and follow up with this woman who was so very eager to meet me and learn more about following Jesus. So that is what I did.
I recall reading in the Kenya “Culture” book that time is a very Western concept, and that Americans coming to Africa often struggle to throw off the shackles of the clock. How true it is! This is just one example; Marc has had experience with this as well. Often he’ll have a training scheduled to begin at 9:00, and folks don’t start drifting in until noon. One Kenyan laughingly told him that if people actually show up on the same day as the event, that’s pretty good.
One more thing we need to adjust to. Need to keep on remembering why we’re here and what’s important, so we can truly make the most of every opportunity–whether it shows up at 3:00 or 4:30. Here’s a reminder for all of us–we need to focus on the eternal, not the temporal; and God’s timing is usually not the same as ours. Be prepared, whether you’re needed at 3:00 when it’s convenient, or 4:30…when it’s not.