Living in Africa: Our Biggest Fears May Surprise You

When people say things to us like, "You are so brave for moving to Africa," I'm sure they aren't picturing us getting potentially smashed by a falling window. I know, you are so confused. I was too the first time I saw Matt swing WAY left before walking into the grocery store in the tall building adjacent to ours. When I questioned him, he said he was avoiding falling windows.

(Notice he didn't grab my arm when he did his window-avoiding dance.) 

I'll explain further. There are lots of apartment buildings in Maputo, most of which were built in the 50's by the Portuguese. Windows here are typically wood-framed and open out. In case you need a reminder, it's 2016. That's a whole lot of rainy seasons and coastal breezes. I'd be loose too, if I'd been hanging around that long…that sounded bad…not what I meant.

ANYWAYS. 

Windows fall from time to time; we have even lost one of our own. Praise the Lord no one was hurt! (We live on the 13th floor!) Matt isn’t afraid of snakes or our kids getting Malaria, he’s afraid of falling windows. 

If you want to see Matt tense, put him in a car in Mozambique at night. The guy is a nervous wreck and for good reason. Most Mozambicans don't have the luxury of having a car. Most Mozambicans walk everywhere. Some have to walk at night. Most Mozambicans are black. Not to point out the obvious or anything, but black people are hard to see in the dark. Matt's biggest fear is hitting someone; we pray about it often. 

 It'd be pretty scary if you walked up on this guy. Photo credit goes to Matt. 

It'd be pretty scary if you walked up on this guy. Photo credit goes to Matt. 

Mine?

Matt says I don't have any fears. And honestly, nothing really ever causes me to panic, but when we have a house full of college students and I misjudged the amount of snacks needed, my heart races. It is not easy whipping up extra snacks when you have a toddler and a baby, so I thank God every day for the little store where Matt perfected his window avoiding technique. 

Phone call.

I got nervous just typing out those letters, "p-h-o-n-e c-a-l-l." Most people of my-thumbs-are-the-new-lips-generation struggle with phone calls anyway, so when you ask me to call someone in a language other than English, yeah, that will give me chills. Move over freaky baby-doll movies meant to make grown men pee their pants: Calling someone on the phone in Portuguese is much scarier.

 I'm pretty sure Cypress' biggest fear is sleeping through the night. She's terrified.

I'm pretty sure Cypress' biggest fear is sleeping through the night. She's terrified.

For real praise the Lord our students like to text! #blessed

Disease, potential war, and sand could cause us to live in fear…joking about the sand thing…well, kinda joking. (I may have to list that as another thing I'm afraid of. All you beach lovers may not understand, but when your whole country is like a giant sand pit, it gets everywhere.) There are moments when Satan gets at us (you can read about that here), but for the most part we have been so grateful that this verse rings true in our lives,

"God has not given me a spirit of fear, but of power and love and a sound mind."

We have made a decision as a family that we won't fear something that hasn't happened; it's a waste of time and doesn't prevent anything. Instead, we are going to embrace what God has called us to. In that embrace we can find peace knowing that he is in control, good or bad, easy or difficult. 

A lot of you understand this WAY more than I do.

You have looked fear in the eyes with a terrifying diagnosis. You have faced another day after the death of a child, parent, sibling. You have lost everything in a fire or natural disaster and started over. Fear tried to steal your identity after a divorce. Abuse had its fingers around your neck, but you struggled free.

You. 

You are brave.

And Jesus. 

He is weeping over you and he's so, so proud that you aren't bound by fear. Praying for you today and believing that fear will never hold you back.

Let's not live in fear, okay?