October 18, 2015

A(nother) First

Today was the first time I have ever had an inkling of feeling unsafe in this country.
Please don't panic.
I do not live in fear, and neither should you.  Fear is not from God.  We are safe.  
But today, as we drove up the mountain a little ways for a hash, we encountered a bit of a harry situation.
The village we were driving through supports one of the two major political parties, as was evidenced by the flags flying everywhere.  But for some (crazy) reason, the opposition party decided to have a meeting/rally in that village.  
We drove through two or three sections of the road that were completely crawling with people, at one point we had to go really slow to avoid hitting anyone, and to dodge all the huge rocks that were lying on the ground.  When we neared our turnoff there were a dozen or so police in full riot gear, automatic weapons at the ready.  There was much shouting, people everywhere, and several grapefruit-sized rocks all over the road (that had been thrown). We passed through just fine, and came back down the hill a bit to try and take the turn again, this time successfully.
We reached our destination,  and started out for our hash. Toward the end, the trail took us across a small village road, where the majority party was meeting.  They were very friendly and showed us the way to go to continue on our path.  No problems at all. 
On the way driving home, as the sun set behind the mountains, there were more people coming out, angry at that opposing party for holding a meeting in their village.  As we drove through a group of about 25 boys and men carrying big bamboo sticks they bean beating the sides of our car and shouting political statements.   
It was in that very brief moment that I was ever-so-thankful that I know the one who sits on the throne.  
Let me reiterate - we are completely fine.  (and the car is too!)
But today really reminded me what a battle it is here.  Not only in the physical as the election draws near, but in the spiritual as well.
A good handful of our friends have precisely timed their vacations and furloughs over this period, as to be out of the country completely.  Many people are speculating and weighing in on what they think may happen, riots and political party clashes going on throughout town, and the like.  Our school has even decided to close for a few days after elections to be on the safe side, and so do all the Tanzanian schools.  

But the thing that shines through to me in all this is NOT fear. 
It's God's sovereignty.  
I will not live in fear of what might happen.  I choose not to worry about all the political goings on right now.  But, I also am not ignorant to it, either.  We will be keeping very close to home for about four days.  We won't go anywhere near town.  We're pulling money out of the ATM's just incase.  We're stocking up on groceries so we won't run out.  But I am not filled with fear.

This country needs change.  It needs healthy leadership.  Leadership that's not corrupt.  I don't know if that's what we'll end up with after this weekend.  But I do know that no matter what the results, God is sovereign.  

So will you pray with us, friends?  Pray BIG, bold prayers with us.  Prayer that can change this nation, one leader at a time.  Prayer for a peaceful election and results announcement.  Prayer for safety, wisdom, and honesty.  We have seen miracles happen as a result of prayer, friends.  Real, physical miracles.  And we know this is a time for amazing God-things to happen.  So we ask that you join us in this spiritual war, and we thank you immensely for every prayer you send up, big or small.  We'd love for Heaven to be bombarded with people all over the world praying for the beautiful nation of Tanzania.

*Election day is Sunday, 24th of October.  Results are expected to be released Tuesday or Wednesday.