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January 13, 2011


during our time of orientation – before the team went to lesotho – we would spend each day around gaborone or lobatse doing various tasks as a team. as a gift from the volunteers who had assisted in this training, we received these electric yellow nalgene bottles. these suckers were bright. and since we had committed to drinking A LOT of water we had to have them everywhere we went. so when a group of 6 people, 1 white american included, start walking around villages sporting a coordinating accessory with the brightness of a light saber, you draw attention. we started to catch on a day or so into it when people would stop us and ask us who we were or what organization we were with or what we were doing there. they wanted to look at these bottles and often asked why we had them. i mean they became kind of a big deal.

so one day, i noticed noma didn’t have hers. when i asked her about it she said she had been hiding it in her bag because she felt like it was almost creating this barrier by grabbing so much attention. a potential distraction.

when our team traveled to lesotho we were in another culture. and while there are many similarities among sub-saharan african cultures, the batswana and zimbabweans on our team found many great differences between their own cultures and the culture of the basotho. in some ways they were a bit of a spectacle – having come from a large city, being very well educated, wearing “city clothes” … but there were also things that because of their similarities they were able to pick up on in a matter of days. and other cultural obstacles that they were able to skip entirely. i’m convinced that relationally there were customs they never had to learn, but knew already because they are who they are. things that go unspoken or untaught … things that it could take an american years to pick up on, even more years to learn.

there have been many situations living here where i have felt like that neon yellow bottle. where i have noticed that my difference has created a stumbling block and has been a hindrance rather than a help. God’s ways are perfect and He uses the members of His Church to proclaim His name and to spread His light throughout the world. so in saying this i’m not questioning where He sends one or another. but it was awesome to see these students mobilized to go to the nations and to find that there are cultures in which they are able, because of who God has made them to be and where He has planted them, to more quickly adapt, drawing less attention to themselves and drawing more attention to the gospel. in that they recognized the great need for more and more just like them to go, to be sent out. praise God for using these students in ways unique to them for His glory and pray that He will send out more workers, more youth like these to the nations.


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