Something just happened; we’re not really sure what.
We went outside this morning to play soccer in the street. We thought if we went out ourselves and started playing, surely kids couldn’t pass it up. And they didn’t! We had two girls start to kick the soccer ball around with us within about five minutes, and soon after had mothers smiling at us. We’re hopeful.
But, it ended quite oddly. After a little while, a mother and toddler came running around the corner, grabbed one of the girls and they ran into a house down the street. Another mother and baby followed around the corner and ran into the same home.
And then five men came–some on a motorbike and some with two trucks. The back of one truck was filled with people that you could tell were ethnic. The men asked us a question about our home being here/where we live. We nodded that we live here, and then they turned and went in to the community. And they started searching the homes. And taking bicycles.
The community was very quiet, except for the five men. They were laughing. You could only see about five women and children; no men from the community were around. And after about twenty minutes of loading up ten or twelve bicycles into the second truck, they left.
After our soccer was stopped, we were on our porch. When the men left a woman came out and looked at us and shrugged–a sense of hopelessness. It seemed to say, “What can we do?”
And now more people have come back to the community; the women are talking abruptly among themselves. You can sense their frustration; the anger at being taken advantage of and being able to do nothing.
And we have so many questions. Where are the men from the community? Deported? Or do they know it is better for just the women and children to be there? Why did some women go to hide and others not? Are they illegal, where if they let the bikes go they can stay? Or are they legal and still being taken advantage of simply as racism? Why did the men ask if we lived here? Would we have been sent away if we didn’t?
And the biggest question to us is this: What do we do?
We believe God has given us this house to rent. When we initially heard it was furnished and had higher rent, we ruled it out. That day as we were doing our devotions, I really felt we needed to look into it, so we did. We called back and went to look at it that afternoon.
We liked it, but it was still a little pricey. And then, without our asking, they offered to drop the rent by 500B per month. This brought it back into a reasonable range, and it became a good deal since it came with furnishings for a price similar to one that didn’t.
And we really think it’s perfect. The two bedrooms allow us to have guests, and a decent-sized living area will allow us to invite teams into our home for dinner, worship nights, etc. But it’s simple, and we are having to stretch ourselves. We are having to use a squatty potty and make do with a one burner stove and very small refrigerator. It seemed like a good balance to us: comfortable in some ways and challenging in others. And though some are skeptical of the neighborhood, we’re hopeful. We really believe some of our greatest ministry opportunities lie right outside our door, even more so after what we just saw.
We believe we’ve been placed here for such a time as this, if you will.
So what do we do?