Living here is somewhat of a challenge. Forget the cultural differences, driving on the left side of the road and shopping at a butcher with a machete. The real challenge is having friends. Jinja is a small town with quite a few ex-pat's and missionaries, volunteer teams and NGO's. You would think that we would be a close-knit community with get-to-gethers all the time. That would be wrong thinking, of course maybe they are going on and we just don't know about them.
But this is not a post to complain about that.. this is a post to talk about just how hard it is to feel alone. No sooner do you invest in someone, than they are leaving. Just in the past month or so two guys who were here for different reasons kind of walked into our lives. Within the last week they have both gone back to the States.
I am at the cafe all the time, so I am constantly seeing new people. There is a fine line between intruding on customers and being hospitable. I don't think I have that figured out yet. I am an introvert anyhow, so just the thought of going up to each customer and striking up a conversation is frightening to me. Yet I wonder how many friendships I have missed, or better yet, how many lonely people I have failed to reach out too. If I am feeling lonely, and I have family and some friends here, how many people come through here who don't have anyone.
Opening my heart over and over to people who might or might not being staying seems overwhelming and tiring, and at times... pointless. So I struggle between the fear of the flesh and the will of God. I have to admit that too often the fear of my flesh wins. To be the light of the world, the salt of the earth.. how can I be light or salt if I chose to not engage, to not invest in people? So although it is hard and it hurts at times I know that God wants me to reach out.