Today, after spending the most of the day out in a village about 1.5 hrs from Libreville, we returned to our house to find my Gabonese friend Tania, waiting for me on the front porch.
A note about Tania: (she's also the one I mentioned who has a Bible that's totally falling apart)
-She's 22 and her dad had a stroke a few yrs back- she takes care of him because her mom is on a plantation somewhere in the jungle
- She also takes care of 6 other siblings
-She has a middle school education, and needs to complete one more year to get her diploma that will allow her to start becoming an apprentice for a beautician school
- Every time I see her, she's either coming or going to something at her church- she's really active with an intercession ministry and the youth ministries
- On Saturday, I convinced her to come to the beach with us. She's lived no more than 10 miles from the beach for her whole life, but had never gone into the water until now (I just hung onto her the whole time because the waves were pretty big and she's really tiny and she can't swim at all. We had such a blast and I think she swallowed a bucketful of salt water out there!)
Anyways, she is a real light here in Gabon. I rarely see someone so joyful and full of love of the Lord as she is. I'm telling you- she never stops smiling! So today we pull up after spending the morning playing with kids in a village, and she's standing there, waiting for me. I wasn't expecting her, but that's not uncommon to just drop in. She told me that she came over (she had to take a few different taxibuses to get here) just so that she could give me a present and say goodbye before I left. I opened the present and she had given me a piece of cloth that was from a city in the south (port gentil) and a little gabonese flag. I was so thankful for her gift, especially because I knew that she had to go all the way into the center of the city to get these things, which is not easy to do because we live in the outskirts.
The best part was that when I as walking her down to the taxibus stop, we were saying our goodbyes and I asked her if we could pray before she left. I took her hands, but she just threw her arms around me in a massive hug and started praying. Taxibuses were honking at us and I know that most people there never see "blanches" (white girls) walking around with "noires" (black girls), let alone stand on a street corner praying together. That moment was a real testament to God's goodness and His desire for all believers to come together as one church. I have danced at church alongside other believers here in Gabon in a way that would not be considered "normal" at my church back in AZ, but I am learning how this is something to be embraced and not regarded as a "cute" or "entertaining" way of worshipping. The people here regard our bodies as having been created for dancing and singing to God, and them dancing could be viewed just as a person in a pew kneeling down before the Lord in silent praise of His work. My desire is for the Lord to continue opening my five senses to more ways of honoring Him.