But God Had a Different Plan…
After months of failed negotiations and escalating fees for the container filled with valuable items for Tanzanians throughout south central Tanzania, after endless prayers and supplications, after shouting and threatening, after crying and begging; I finally gave up. Each day brought more requests for more information or new fees or different paperwork. The demands seemed endless and our resources were very limited. I finally gave up. I had expressed my anger and frustration. I finally gave up. I had compared my experience to that of a mother with a still born child – months of hope and expectations, hard work to stay safe and healthy, hours of endless joy in anticipation of life unfolding in unimagined ways but in the moments approaching full term, in the days of heightened expectation; word came that there was no future. Word came that there was no hope. The container was dead in the dry storage yard at Dar es Salaam. It would never move. I gave up.
I gave up my anger. I gave up my dreams. I gave up hope and I began to mourn the death of the child. I announced the death to family and friends. Many offered condolences and tried to bring sense and peace and vision in the midst of my despair. It helped. It was over. I would never do this again. I gave up.
But God had a different plan. There were renewed negotiations, compromises and relief of fees. God had a different plan for the people of Tanzania who need and want these books and this equipment. The Lower Susquehanna Synod of the ELCA and the Konde Diocese of the ELCT joined hands with us in renewed efforts and giving.
I abandoned hope, but God had a different plan. The container left Dar es Salaam today for its journey to Mbeya. It is on its way to have its contents shared like the bread of communion that feeds so many with so little yet made large in love and hope. Shouts of joy and prayers of thanksgiving accompany it on the way. A picture of the bright, well maintained tractor pulling the trailer from the dry storage yard was carried by electrons across the oceans and hope arose in Tanzania and central Pennsylvania all because God had a different plan! God had a different plan. God’s love wins.
Thanks be to God whose goodness and mercy knows no end.
More to come…