We are in the midst of another Ramadan here in Niger and no matter how much I try to prepare myself for it, I find it challenging. It could be a purely physical thing, with Ramadan comes a lot of late night services broadcast on the loud speakers at the mosque next door. That coupled with the early start time for the boy’s school can wear you out. I suppose the pace that we have been trying to keep could have a lot to do with the physical fatigue too. I am happy to say that the English teacher for Sahel arrived last weekend and relieved me on my temporary teaching job. I am grateful to have her here. Although, I can’t say that I have caught up on my accounting, bill paying, laundry or many other jobs that I let slide while I was covering the English class yet. Nor have I caught up on the sleep that trying to do too much robbed me of.
However, it isn’t just the physical aspects of Ramadan that are draining. It is the spiritual aspects as well. Not to say that there aren’t difficulties and spiritual conflicts that are ongoing here, but it seems more pronounced at this time of year. Maybe that is because my prayers become more concentrated on the Holy Spirit revealing himself to those who are truly seeking God through this time of fasting—or maybe it is that I am getting less sleep, so I might as well be praying (or writing a blog) while I can’t sleep with the loud speaker blaring in my window. But is also all the little things that come along to test your endurance, etc.—like Dave blowing up the battery on our car and breaking the door handle off of the driver’s side door, on the day of the first school board meeting of the year. Or the alarm clock not going off so that you wake up ten minutes before you are supposed to be leaving for school, on the morning of the mom’s prayer meeting! Or all the little lies like that nagging sense that you might as well give up because you are never going to be able to accomplish what you want to, or that you are too afraid to do what you are supposed to, or that I would just be better off teaching because it is the only thing that I am any good at.
Please pray for all of us at this especially draining time of year, but also pray with us that God would use our conversations with neighbours about why we aren’t fasting and that at this time of seeking God that many Muslims would come face to face with Jesus.