A little over a year ago Rosalie moved into our tiny house.Â Her big, generous personality could hardly be contained in our brick walls.Â I was hesitant to have her live with us but she quickly fit in and became a part of the family.Â It was like having a best friend, babysitter, personal trainer and co-chef all in one!Â And it has been awesome.
But this week Rosalie is doing something big.Â Huge really.Â Â Rosalie is moving deeper into the slums of Wabigalo.
When we first moved into our house on our noisy bustling street, visitors were often shocked at our accommodations.Â They couldnâ€™t believe we could live in a tiny house, a tiny compound on bordered by a huge slum and an industrial area.Â And Iâ€™ll admitâ€¦I was a little proud.Â I felt like we instantly had street credz for living where we live and working in a slum.Â But now Rosalie is raising the bar.
As a single woman in her thirties she is moving into a two-room house (literally TWO rooms, NOT a two bedroom house) in a shared compound the size of most of your garages.Â She doesnâ€™t have a fancy bathroom much less a toilet.Â Girlfriend will be using a squatty potty or as most of you know itâ€¦a latrine.Â Her â€œkitchenâ€ is a tiny room the size of a walk in closet with no counters, no shelves, and no sink.Â The only reason we call it the â€œkitchenâ€ is because that is where she will set up a table to put a two burner gas stove on.Â Her windows open up onto two different views: an alleyway or a school wall.Â And I think it is AWESOME!
Another friend of ours who lives in Raleigh North Carolina does something similar.Â She is also a young single woman in her thirties who has chosen to live in East Raleigh.Â This is a hard neighborhood with lots of drugs, thugs and gangs.Â We spent a week staying with her when we were stateside and I was scared to go on the front porch!Â Yet this awesome young woman is building relationships with her neighbors regardless of the fact that many of them deal drugs, are prostitutes and have raging parties regularly.Â God has challenged her to do this and she delights in it.
Without meaning to sound judgmental I wanted to explain why this is so huge.Â Most missionaries who live in Kampala or even Uganda live in pretty nice houses.Â I mean houses that in America would cost a lot of money and youâ€™d kind of dream of owning.Â A lot of missionaries here donâ€™t live in the area they work in or near the people they minister to. I know God asks people to do different things and Iâ€™m not saying this with a judgmental spirit.Â For us though, we believe in and see the value of incarnational living.Â Itâ€™s not easy but its worth it.
â€œThe comfort of our community becomes a bias towards others and a blindness to viable relationships different from our own.â€ I read that quote in training from a book about a man who went to work with the Yapese on the island of Yap.Â He had the choice to live in a nice house on the beach (Uh helloâ€¦.American dream) OR to live in a cramped house in close quarters with other Yapese people.Â He would give up privacy, solitude and comfort.Â But he would learn the language, engage the people and enter into their culture faster.Â He chose the cramped house.Â And he didnâ€™t regret it.
(*Ministering Cross Culturally â€“An Incarnational Model for Personal Relationships. By Sherwood G. Lingenfelter. Great book, you should read it no matter where you live.)
I donâ€™t regret living where we live either.Â Sure, I would love to have a grassy compound, a fabulous kitchen, a guest room, and hot water. But I wouldnâ€™t trade where we live for those things.Â Weâ€™d miss out on relationships, comradarie, and the favor of our neighbors.Â We recently had an attempted break in early in the evening.Â Our neighbors saw the thieves, got their plate number and told us what they looked like. Â Our neighbors take care of us and welcome us into their lives.
So Rosalie is about to take that a step further.Â She will be in a fishbowl.Â He verandah is a public place next to a shop where I imagine people will always be hanging out.Â Kids will look in her windows and shout â€œMuzungu!â€ everytime she opens her door.Â The smell of burning trash and over-full latrines will be annoying.Â Using a latrine that doubles as a shower will be trying.Â But just think about what she will experience in regards to relationship.Â No Westerners live like that here.Â I donâ€™t even live like that.Â I cannot wait to see how God uses this to shape Rosalie and to allow her deeper access into the lives of His people He has yet to call to Him.
Obviously it isnâ€™t some magic ability inside Rosalie.Â This is the power of the Gospel alive and at work in a willing servantâ€™s heart. Please be in prayer for Rosalie and for the ministry God has miraculously started at Sojourn.Â Be amazed and inspired by the life of just one young woman willing to serve.Â And considerâ€¦what is God asking you to do?
â€œThrough the Great Commission, Jesus sends us out into all the world, and as his messengers, we are to follow his example, that is, we are to become incarnate in the cultures to which we are sent.â€ â€“Sherwood G. Lingenfelter
*This is written as a challenge to all of us including myself.Â This isnâ€™t a blog to start an argument and I would be greatly saddened if it was misread that way.