Depending on where you live in the U.S. I’m guessing you’ve experience varying degrees of stranger friendliness. You know what I mean. If you live in North Dakota, people ask how you are and typically care about your answer. If you are from the east coast people may not even look at you as they ring you up at the grocery store.
Well here in the metropolis of Lubumbashi we have had the unique experience of standing out in a big way. That may be the cause of the friendly and excited waves, but there is certainly a lot of excitement about our family. The “Sh-awesome Six” can’t go anywhere without someone hanging out of a taxi-bus to wave or shout “Muzungu!” (which means whites in Swahili).
Sticking out like a sore thumb was overwhelming at first, but we have adapted and are feeling quite comfortable in our new home. What felt awkward and vulnerable, now makes me feel like Norm on Cheers. I have encouraged the boys to smile and wave back when someone shouts hello. My favorite interaction thus far was when a young man yelled, “dame blanche” at me when I was crossing the street. For my non-French speaking family and friends that means “white lady.”
Nick and I have told the boys that we have an amazing opportunity to be a witness to who we are and whose we are. Standing out when you’re a kid can be really intimidating but we have prayed for God to strengthen the boys and make them bold. We recently did a lesson on The Armor of God from the book of Ephesians at Children’s Church. It is easier when you feel like you can hide in the crowd and others won’t notice or judge your actions. We do not have that luxury when we are 6 of very few Caucasian people. We remind the boys, and ourselves that when we are in Christ we are protected by his armor, then there is nothing to fear on this earth.
I challenge you to stand out today. Be the warrior that God has asked you to be and please pray for our 4 warriors as we boldly ask God to bless our work here in Congo.
13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Renee’s advance #3022491
Nick’s advance #3022490
Nick and Renee Shaw
C/O United Methodist New Life Center
PO Box 20219