Saturday, November 27, 2010

Tabaski Part two

This has been a long week. A little over a week ago was the Tabaski holiday, where every family slaughters a sheep, goat or cow to commemorate God’s provision of a ram when Abraham was about to sacrifice his son. The first day is more of a family day as the animal roasts over an open fire. The second day everyone begins to share their meat with family, friends and the poor. We visited a couple of homes where we were given lots of meat to eat and Tamajeq style tea. My last round of tea and meat was around 11 PM with a neighbour. That night it caught up with me—I was up hourly and probably only slept twenty minutes in the night. My insomnia was also
accompanied by troubling symptoms that have followed me on and off for the last week. On Wednesday, our doctor friend threatened that if something didn’t start improving soon she might consider having me evacuated someplace where more extensive tests could be done. I think most of my problems have been gastro-intestinal but some symptoms have made the doctor wonder if we shouldn’t consider having a stress test for my heart. Just suggesting that is a stress test for my heart! (I’ve already had EKG’s on two separate occasions since late August.) There have been days when I just wanted to go home, feeling like questions could be answered and resolved quickly. The truth is, as some of you know, even in North America some medical questions aren’t answered quickly, and treatment can require patience. It’s easy to become focused on ourselves in these moments but I know this has been trying on our family as well—my wife can’t remember when she last had a good night’s sleep.

We are thankful for God’s faithfulness. Last week we received four different gifts of meat—the most we’ve ever received, and perhaps a sign that we are starting to fit into the neighbourhood. The first morning of Tabaski I slept in thinking that all my neighbours would be busy saying prayers and talking their animals off to the mosque to be blessed before slaughter. However I awoke to the dog barking, and my wife saying, “I think someone’s knocking at the door.” I quickly pulled on my clothes but no one was there. Later that afternoon while going out to visit, my neighbour who is a marabout (Islamic teacher) accosted me on the street saying, “Daouda, where were you? We knocked on your door this morning to greet you. Your dog barked but no one answered. There were ten men standing at your front door wanting to greet you but you didn’t come out!” With embarrassment I explained that I wasn’t appropriately dressed to receive visitors which is why I was slow to answer.

Tomorrow is the first Sunday of Advent and I’ve cajoled my “Sunday School” students into doing the lectionary readings and to share a few thoughts on each in the morning service.

Please pray that as we work with the church and our neighbours that Christ’s light would shine through our lives.

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