Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Listen and Learn

These are the two words I keep hearing in my heart and mind as I live life here in Rwanda. It has been three weeks and if you know me, you know I am a doer. And now I am in a land with plenty of needs for which there is plenty of "doing" to be done. I am friends with so many people who are great "doers" and for whom an immediate need on the street requires immediate action. Yet, I continue to hear the whisperings of "Be Still."

I attended a Bible Study today with other Westerners and the theme was on...yes, "Being Still." The author of the study said the Hebrew word for this expression is "rapah" which literally means to relax, be lazy, be discouraged, be slack, weak." When I've heard or read these words before in Psalm 46, I never viewed them in a negative way. I always thought it mean to just be quiet, relax. But this Hebrew word implies so much more...it requires one to literally give up control. That is what I feel I am to be doing...to give up control of what my ideas are for my time in Rwanda.

"But, wait," I cry. "There are street children and orphans and widows...your word cries out for them, so I should do something now." And, yet, I keep hearing....just listen and learn.

So I have been here three weeks now this evening. While we're still lacking certain furniture and comforts of home, I feel quite settled into life in Kigali. So I want to know what is next. Dano is busy with Karisimbi and I am thrilled by how that is going, but my heart is for the orphan and I want to know what I am supposed to do for the orphan. I met with a wise woman today who has lived in Rwanda for five years and works with African Enterprise. I told her of my struggle and she was so encouraging to me today. She said, "The best thing you could do right now is to listen and learn because you're not just listening and learning for opportunity, you're listening to the culture."

The guys have commented that they are so glad we had several months to just meet with business leaders, organize our thoughts, meet with the leaders again, reorganize our thoughts, meet with them again, etc., because now the final product is so much better and the clients have tremendous buy-in. Every day the guys learn something new about a potential client or Rwandan politics or business and with each lesson comes a better focused direction for our company. I believe that is what is happening with me as I seek to discern how to best serve here.

So I have decided to just start meeting with people who are doing orphan care work, to hear their hearts, to see the needs, to simply be present. I'm starting to see and believe that so much "good work" that is often done is often done too quickly. It is still good work, but it could be so much better if the idea and heart behind it were given time to "Be still."

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