Sustainability of Community...the responsibility

(a note from exile)

Then Jesus called the twelve together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure the diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal.  He said to them, “Take nothing for your journey, no staff, nor bag, nor bread, nor money-not even an extra tunic. Whatever house you enter, stay there, and leave from there.  Luke 9: 1-4 

This post marks the third and final blog posting on Sustainability of Community.  Soon the time will be here to make the commitment to the workers of Chicuque Rural Hospital.  This is a commitment not only to help provide a way of life for them, but a more symbolic commitment stating you are a part of their community.  Tuesday, November 29th, will be the time to take being the hand and feet of Christ out of our comfortable homes and beyond ourselves to those of a country, a neighborhood, a family completely unlike that which we are familiar.  And what a blessed opportunity it is!

While we serve in God’s mission in Mozambique, I find myself often asking “what is my responsibility in this?” The questions that follow are, “How does this further the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth” and “How is God glorified?”  These questions guide me in the path to being a healthy participant in the community of those whom I wish to serve along side.   I check whether I have listened appropriately to the spirit by asking “Where is God in this?” If I can find suitable answers to these four questions, then I feel I am divinely supported and guided.

I write this to you sitting on the front porch of a cabin in the mountains of Swaziland.  The weather is cool, the scenery is green and lush, the people are the friendliest I have met in Africa.  Swaziland is quiet different from Mozambique, sharing borders and little else. As a result of expiring visas and changes in the procedures of immigration, my family and I made a cannonball run escape to Swaziland, to regroup, apply for different visas, and to await direction.  We had to the leave the country by November 17th or risk being permanently exiled from Mozambique (well, permanent like for a year). In all honestly, we have struggled with our placement.  The sparse town where we live, the lack of resources, the lack of friends for our children, language challenges and the enormity of our task at the hospital have often found us questioning our placement.  So when our car broke down 28 kilometers away from the Swazi border, we once again found ourselves asking the questions above.  Unsure how we would be able to find our way out of the country, we asked “Is Mozambique and Chicuque our responsibility?”  Are our efforts serving to further the Kingdom of Heaven? Should we just take this as a sign and be resolved to our exiled fate?  And it is in these times God reminds us that we are not always the catalyst of change, that we merely provide a space, a connection and the Holy Spirit works to soften the harden heart, to bring comfort in a time of pain, and to pave the way for God’s work to continue.   In our case it was a mechanic named Hannes, who lived and worked on a nearby banana farm.  His efforts and kindness restored our near empty spiritual tanks, and got us physically across the Mozambique border.  We will have ten days all together in Swaziland as the visas are processed.  We will use this time to reflect, renew, and remember.  God has put a call upon our heart for Mozambique and the people of Chicuque.

As we go into the last week of the Sustainability of Community campaign and we continue to learn of people directly affected by local inability to fulfill the commitment of salary, I will turn these questions to you.  What is your responsibility in the lives of the people of Chicuque Rural Hospital?  What efforts can you make to extend the Grace and Peace of Christ to those who find life a struggle everyday? How can your participation in “Sustainability of Community” work to further the Kingdom of Heaven on earth? Lastly, where do you see God in the faces and lives of those who will benefit the most?

We know when we get back things will still be hard, there will still be challenges to which we will not know how to respond.  Each day it gets a little bit easier, and we find comfort knowing that God has called us, the McCormicks, to this place at this time.  We are resolved in our responsibility to Mozambique and Chicuque Rural Hospital as we search to further the Kingdom of Heaven to everyone we meet. We are also thankful for the respite of Swaziland and the opportunity to recharge. Join us as we continue in our responsibility to be a connected global community of faith.