Have you ever gone on a God Hunt? A God Hunt begins when you teach yourself to look for God’s hand at work in the everyday occurrences of your life. Here’s one of my personal God Hunt Sightings:
The rooms at Kijiji Guest House where I am staying on the campus of Africa International University are a little odd. The shape of the two buildings, constructed of native stone in an octagonal shape, mean that none of the inside rooms are square. A courtyard inside each building is open to the sky; I can hear the rainfall that becomes torrential on the inside of the building before I can hear it on the outside. When referring to these lovely spaces, the locals on campus, the missionary community and professors, say the Guest Houses were built by volunteer teams simply dubbed “the Scots guys.”
I’m getting the idea that things disappear at Kijiji. One of my friends, whose husband is a professor here, stitched up beautiful quilts for all the rooms—what an undertaking. Can you imagine the impression they must have made on the guests who dragged in weary from travel. Returning from a Stateside visit herself, she discovered that new management had taken over and the quilts had all been sold! Yesterday, while talking with another manager (the quilt-selling managerial team did not work out), we wondered if it would be of help to her if our seamstresses from the Global Bag Project (who rent the domestic arts room just beyond Kijiji and through the garden) stitched up laundry bags with the appropriate room number on each.
Linette is a gracious lady and manages all the complicated comings and goings here with seeming ease. “Oh yes,” she said softly. “That would be very helpful. We used to have laundry bags, but I don’t know where they have gone.”
We are trying to create a synergy with the Kijiji Guest Houses: we’ll help them with some of their sewing needs if they will allow us to advertise Global Bag Project products in the rooms. Many tourists already drop past the sewing room and buy bags. We have just worked on setting Africa prices by inviting customers to answer, “What do you think is a fair price?” Their responses more than doubled the price our Project Coordinator had been charging.
However, we’ll have to remember to make it clear that it is not appropriate to pack away items from the guest rooms and to take them home and that our goal for the Global Bag Project women is to pay them a fair wage. So I am keeping it in mind that I, a Westerner from the United States, can come up with all sorts of ideas, but unless the idea originates on the ground here, not much is invested in the concept, which I may think is really great! Nor should I attempt to impose Western thinking and ways on systems that are working quite fine, thank you. The African is polite and has heard much of it all before. They smile, nod their heads and tell you, often, what it is they think you want to hear. This is a cultural nicety; it is politeness, not deceit. However, sometimes they do need advisement, such as the prices for the Global Bag Project products in the sewing room.
“What do you think is a fair price for this?” is not altogether a bad idea for many of our cross-cultural exchanges. Translated another way, we might ask, “What do you think? How would you do this? Why does this happen this way?”
I am ever a learner, for the most part, in another culture. Living in another culture is like the octagonal stone Guest Houses at Kijiji. None of the rooms are really square. Things disappear. I may be hearing only what I want to hear when people tell me what they think I want to know. I am tired of saying, “Pardon me, could you repeat that again?” My mind is weary with learning and interpreting. But I am only a learner here. Please, God, help me not to forget.
I spy God!
Award-winning author Karen Mains has long had an interest in spiritual formation and the obedient Christian walk. She has written about the God Hunt in her book by the same name, The God Hunt: The Delightful Chase and the Wonder of Being Found. A hardback copy can be ordered from Mainstay Ministries for $10.00 plus $4.95 shipping and handling. Contact Karen at firstname.lastname@example.org and she will be happy to autograph a copy for you.
Karen continues to write content for her Christian blog, “Thoughts-by-Karen-Mains.” In so doing, she desires to touch the lives of Christian women and men and help them find ways to walk closer with the Lord Jesus Christ. In addition, through silent retreats, spiritual teaching, women’s retreats, Christian vacation opportunities, and other ministry activities, Karen helps each Christian woman and man receive vital spiritual food.
Through her Hungry Souls ministry, Karen serves as a spiritual coach to many Christian women and men, and teaches a mentor-writing class. And, through the Global Bag Project, she is working to develop a network of African women who sew exquisite cloth reusable shopping bags, Africa bags. This micro-finance women opportunity helps provide a much-needed sustainable income for struggling African families. For more information on this critically important project, please click here.
For decades, Karen and her husband, David, have served God through religious communications—radio, television, and print publication. They are the co-authors of the Kingdom Tales Trilogy: Tales of the Kingdom, Tales of the Resistance, and Tales of the Restoration. To find many valuable resources for pastors and congregations at the Mainstay Ministries main website, please click here.
Likewise, pastors will find special resources to help them prepare effective, life-transforming Sunday sermons by visiting David Mains’ website by clicking here.