Friday, September 04, 2009

My first morning in Freetown

I woke up a little chilly because of the A/C in my room. I freshened up with baby wipes and headed down to the hotel lobby. After exchanging greetings with the receptionist, I asked if water in the washroom came at a certain time.

The lady was very apologetic about the lack of water at the hotel. The city was having a problem, she said. I think a main water pipe was damaged in a road construction project somewhere in Freetown. Water would be brought up to my room in buckets.

"That's all right," I replied and stayed for a little chat. I'm not usually chatty, but this is Africa, and I know they are a very relational people. I made the extra effort to talk.

"You're my friend," the receptionist, told me graciously at the end of our small talk. I've made one friend!

The temperature outside my hotel room was hot and humid. My body was no longer used to that kind of heat as if there was a heavy blanket over the city. I felt suffocated. I quickly laid back in bed, enjoying the remaining cool of the A/C that just got turned off with the hotel's generator.

Can I stand this heat outside without fainting? Suddenly, four weeks seemed too long to be away from the comforts of home. No luggage. No water. And now no power.

"God, I really need a promise from you right now," I prayed in the dark with fervour and some hyperventilation. I pulled out my Bible and reading lamp and opened to the first thing that came to mind, Isaiah 40.

I wanted an immediate promise from God. Instead, the passage talked in length about God's greatness, how He measures the waters in the hollow of His hands, how He weighs the mountains in the scales, how He calls each star by name... If He can do and see all these things, surely He can see me in this dark and lonely room. Surely there are more stars than people.

I sensed God wanted me to focus on who He was, rather than on what He could do for me at that moment. Meditating on His greatness was enough to make my worries insignificant. I stopped looking for a direct promise. But at the end of the chapter, however, He gave it anyway.

...those who hope in the Lord will renew their They will soar with wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not faint.

I will walk and not faint! Lord, when I get out of this bed and leave this room, I will have to walk with Your strength...

This promise, and others that followed in the next days, would sustain me in the days and weeks to come. As you will probably read in my next entries, we really roughed it out.

View from the veranda of our hotel

Later that morning, our local contact came to the hotel. We talked about our plan of work then headed out to his office. It rained a lot that day. Although my rain jacket and umbrella were in my missing luggage, I was grateful for the rain. It literally cleared the air.

Next, a shopping adventure.

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