The first two weeks of March, we were all distracted and distressed. But then I found myself relaxed, busy with daily tasks and checking in on our people, able to focus on things that needed doing and sleeping well at night. What happened?
It struck me a week or so ago, and I had to laugh out loud. I’d slipped into “Mozambique Missionary Mode”. You see, we frequently had “crises” during our years there. A child would have malaria (or logistically worse, a parent). Rebels would be operating somewhere near our town, or gangs would roam the streets at night with machetes. Sometimes we’d hear gunshots. Once, electricity went out in the whole north (more than 10 million people) for 6 weeks. An underground cable would break and banks would be offline for a week. Or, I’d have a personal health crisis, which happened more than I’d like to remember – a torn ACL, two sicknesses at once, crushing back pain, just to name a few.
Anyway, during each event we’d go into our crisis mode, checking in with each other and colleagues frequently. We’d make sure the pantry was equipped. We’d check the cars had gas. We’d talk about what we’d do “If” something or other happened. We got really good at it. In fact, when we were in counseling in the USA in 2018, two different of our counselors told us that we were excellent at problem solving, but pretty terrible at dealing with the emotions left over from trauma. We couldn’t argue – it was how we survived a lot of tough situations.
I found myself back there again recently. Kevin and I began to problem solve, and we felt confident that we were ready to address this latest crisis. Watching people in first world countries deal with this crisis has been hard – many of them have no experience with “public upheaval” like this, and yet many nations around the world have dealt with that in the past or deal with that in their present. Many from my generation have never had their control taken from them in such a big way.
But feeling sanctimonious about it is not the right way. While I can be grateful for the ability to compartmentalize and keep working in the midst of it, God calls us to humbly enter into the lives of those around us. The fear, the criticisms, the false information and accusations swirling around, those losing their livelihoods and those who are actually dying from this. Watching all of it and getting ready. Doing what we can, and praying for wisdom. God help us all.