Sweat from the Mozambican heat slowly seeps from me as I sit among Mopani worm poo. It collects on our tent porch and I find myself sweeping it off every three to four hours. It falls on my paper as I write. I just finished hand washing some sweat-drenched clothes in the bathroom sink and rinsing them in a bucket. The garden fence is a clothesline. I hear the laughter of children as they play outside the school. Some cows are passing through grazing. Pencil-tip gray clouds seem to be increasing but they sometimes fool me disappearing as the sun bursts forth to make its presence known. Today a rain would be a welcomed relief from the hovering humidity and heat that envelopes me. I sit on guard looking down often for an approaching demon bug.
After the teachings and the men doing some work on the roof, Sharyn and I with Derrick meet Alen, the latest edition to Pastor Albert’s family. Later we all gather together to walk, as the sun begins to set among lightning strikes, to Florah’s house where her almost two year old grandson, Doug’s namesake has passed away. Florah recently lost her husband in the same accident that has injured her neck. Last month she was also battling malaria and now she has lost her grandson. (Later in the week we would learn of the death of her son-in-law.) We share words of comfort with her and her family. She thanks us and testifies of her trust in the Lord. On our way to Florah’s we came across a house where the child was experiencing symptoms of malaria. We pray for him.
Here there is joy among much sickness and sorrow. God uses their lives to teach me about joy…the smile of Rosina as I share a nectarine with her, the cooing of a newborn baby in a house the size of some American bathrooms, the giving of a gift to me by Joice, the harvesting of Mopani worms by Ernest for dinner and the clinging hard of Florah’s hand as I say goodbye to her. Joy is an expression of the heart no matter the circumstance. The Shangaan people know this well.