Today, I am nostalgic.
I asked him to pick me up.
“I want to drink wine and dance,” I said.
I didn’t mean for it to feel like a date, hating that the end is coming.
I ate beforehand. His invitation to feed me dinner was too much. It was more intimacy, which I was trying to avoid but so desperately wanted.
We drove up to the concert at an outdoor venue. This was set to be my last concert with him, and with some of my favourite girls before I would leave Botswana.
I was feeling all pretty and carefree in my borrowed hoop earrings.
He reminds me how the last time at this venue, I blew him off. It was because I was with another man. Knowing what I know now? I wish I would’ve noticed him sooner and never looked back.
The main act comes on stage, and we start dancing.
I pretend not to want to take his hand. Rather, I focus on the moment, dancing with friends I will sorely miss.
Tonight, I go out with new friends to bring in the Chinese New Year. New friends, new year, fresh focus. And yeah, there might be more wine and dancing too.
i don’t know how to negotiate drama in friendship. this weekend i learned that i have let people down, said too much, or said not enough.
it makes me want to run away. or just hide my head in the sand.
i’ve tried more apologies. but end up just shaking my head at texts that read like notes passed in english class.
why does life still feel like high school?
and then i went out with two of my favourite people. not hours before we were discussing the issues of a very complex relationship. but as the night grew longer i watched as they put it all aside, and began to dance together, all because of love.
and i figured, as i sat there sipping my vodka and cranberry, if they can get through this, then i have nothing to worry about.
My first experience at the church in Otse was chaotic, sure. But there was something about the energy in the room. People were wandering around praying fervently – some shouting, some clapping, some laying prostrate on the floor and some weeping. The Holy Spirit was present, and as I eased down into my chair and opened my Bible I knew that although it was not what I am used to, I could still be a part of the intercession.
I started meditating on the scriptures; I was prompted to praise God for His attributes – His Holiness, His promise keeping, His love – the list goes on. And it was good to be able to speak aloud, talking to God in a real way – personally and in community. There was an ebb and flow – if we all got quiet someone would start singing and we all joined in together. What a way to glorify the Father.
By the end of the two weeks I was still my conservative self – but more open, more honest with God. The moruti (pastor) made a comment that prayer is being naked before God, where we come bearing our souls to the Father – that is true worship.
As I write this I realize it sounds “out-there” – but it wasn’t. This was a very conservative church in many ways, but when it came to worship – in prayer and singing – all of their being was involved. Self-consciousness played no part. These acts of worship weren’t just with their lips but their entire body.
I loved every part of it.
Church this past Sunday was full of emotions for me. The music was fantastic. I love worshipping with people who are so free, and I couldn’t help but laugh when I tried to dance with everyone else. Passion in worship is so evident here. And although I wasn’t able to sing some of the songs (my Setswana really needs to improve) I loved to praise Him even without words.
I think what is so fantastic about the African culture is that the material seems less important – they are a people who work hard to just exist. Their past and present has been filled with such hardship – here in Botswana AIDS affects everyone, even though they might not be willing to admit it. A great organization called Mocha Club has a slogan – I Need Africa More Than Africa Needs Me…
“The truth is, in Africa I find hearts full of victory, indomitable spirits. In places where despair should thrive, instead I find adults dancing and singing, and children playing soccer with a ball crafted of tied up trash. Instead of payback, I find grace. Here, weekend getaways are not options to provide relief from the pains of daily life. Relationships and faith provide joy. Love is sovereign (https://www.mochaclub.org/i-need-africa).”
Sadly, there is a shift in Gaborone. As more come from their village life into the city the ideal is to have the best car, the best house: if it’s bigger, shinier, more expensive it is better. Sound familiar? Now, I am not saying that Gabs has become a cespool of materialism, but it many parts of the city one can see how the two worlds are colliding.
The church I visited preached “Prosperity Gospel” – an idea that becoming a child of God means that you reap wealth when you are in God’s favour… that His blessing equals material possessions. They were fired up about a prophetic word: that this would be the year that people would get want they want – a job, a car, a house… It hurt my soul. Just to think these people are being wooed, in church, towards materialism. In North America, we are well aware of the pull of materialism and here in Gaborone, the media and even some churches are making it seem so glamorous, masking how it can destroy.
For so many years, my clothes, my job – basically how much money I could earn to afford all of my things became my focus, and ultimately my god. Jesus Christ took a back seat. Now, I am thrilled to say that’s changing. On Sunday, it was hard to keep quiet when I heard people being taught that God’s blessing equals how much stuff they have. I know for a fact that blessing from God is not the material. God’s blessing is Himself. My desires, my hopes, my dreams are in His hands. And if that means being poor than Amen!
People here are yearning for God. They are yearning for His presence and His blessing! Praise God that He has given us the tools to be content no matter what our circumstances!
Pray for the church in Gaborone. Pray that they would not be wooed by materialism. But that they would seek His Voice, not the voices of empty promises. And that they can stand firm against the pull of evil desires and remember their heritage.
I sang this song all day today, a yearning in my heart for God to touch the hearts in Gaborone. It is a great reminder for myself as well:
Give us clean hands
Give us pure hearts
Let us not lift our souls to another
Oh God let us be a generation that seeks
That seeks your face oh God of Jacob