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Friday, October 30, 2009

Needs and Wants

My friend Amy is serving for one year in a basic medical clinic in the Sudan and I just have to share the email she just sent out. She has been there about one month now. Here is her latest report, which gives me much to reflect upon, and to give thanks to God for!
The majority of my last two weeks have been spent learning as much Arabic as I can. I’ve spent a few hours with my wonderful Sudanese tutor Andrew, lots of time with my language books (in case you were wondering, studying grammar is NOT any more fun than you remember), and some practice time in the markets or visiting with people. It’s a great thing to be able to go out for lunch and call it educational. :)

My goal for these 2 weeks has been to acquire enough language in order to shop on my own in the market. Praise the Lord I have been able to achieve that and more! I put a lot of time into learning words for foods and how to ask for things/prices, etc. As I slowly walked home in the rain one day with 3 inches of thick mud stuck to the bottom of my flip-flops I had some time to think and realized something. When shopping I always used the word for “want” when asking for items, but rarely did I hear the Sudanese use that word. Instead nearly everyone used the word for “need”. It made me think about the people I am working with and getting to know. The average person here does not think of food in terms of calories or indulgences but rather in terms of hunger and survival. Needs. Fruit is a somewhat expensive treat because the cheaper grains and starches can feed more mouths. Life does not come easy here. It’s hard work. The idea of exercise for fun is completely foreign. Someone tried explaining the concept of a gym and exercise to my language tutor. He had quite a laugh. So as I prepare to set my goals and expectations for the rest of this year I’ve been asking myself, what are the essentials? Wants are nice, and I could really go for some thin mint ice cream right now but what is needed?

I've have enjoyed rest and a more relaxed pace of life while in Malakal which has been a great blessing as I adjusted to Sudan. In the morning, however, the time comes to say good-bye and leave for Doro. It’s about an hour ride in a small plane, and then I’ll start settling in to my home for the next year. The clinic awaits!

...not seeking my own profit but the profit of the many, so that they may be saved. 1 Cor. 10:33
Wow, that makes me think...

Heavenly Father, I ask that you open my eyes to see all the wonderful things you given me not because I "need" them, but simply "want" them. You are such a good God! Thank you. Open my eyes to see where I've been overindulgent and can better as serving you and your people more with the abundance you've given me. In Jesus name, Amen.