I lived in Swaziland for two years, from 1988-1990, but my tiny bit of siSwati doesn't reflect that. My sparse siSwati vocabulary, comprised of a few phrases such as "how much", "how are you", and "this tastes delicious", could have easily been learned in just a few days or even a few hours. But, I'm lazy. And I don't like things that don't come easy.
God's working on me in this area, but I still have a long, long way to go. Like longer than even a Wal-Mart check out line the week before Christmas and that's saying a whole heck of a lot.
One word that was very easy to use is one I use quite often, even here in America.
Pronounced yay-boe, it means "yes, I agree".
I'm really glad that the siSwati (and Zulu) word for "yes" is a lot easier than their word for "no" which is "cha". I know, I know. It looks easy to say. But that's where you're wrong. Unless you're one of those very few reading this blog that can actually speak siSwati.
See, "cha" is pronounced with a click at the beginning of it that I find difficult to make.
Wait, change that.
IMPOSSIBLE TO MAKE.
In all the attempts I've made at creating that verbal click, I've never been told by a Swazi that I got it right.
Praise God (and I mean that with the utmost sincerity), most Swazis speak at least a little bit of English and definitely know what the English word "no" means.
But even if "cha" were easier to pronounce, I still think I'd like "yebo" better. As a parent, I know that the "no" is essential. Without it, chaos would reign, my kids would never do their chores, and we'd all stay sick at our stomachs from too much icecream and soda.
So despite the need for the "no", "yes" is definitely a nicer word to say.
This past spring, we've continued on our journey towards living and serving in Swaziland. We've been living here at We Will Go where daily we are taught priceless lessons about God and ministering to the least and lost of these. We've been taking practical steps toward living in Africa such as working out retirement details and making decisions about banking issues. We've also walked toward some opportunities for service in Swaziland and had two doors firmly shut.
Those shut doors were a big time "no" X 2.
They caused us to really do some soul searching and God seeking. We spent a lot of time as a family praying and talking. And then we started getting clarity. Those shut doors caused us to look in a different direction and see the possibility of other ways of walking through the door to living and serving in Swaziland. Ways that, to be honest, seemed even more suited for our family, our giftings, our skills, and our vision.
That's why God and Jim sent me, Anna, Betsie, and my beautiful and funny friend Rhonda to Swaziland.
We went looking for the different way. Not the way that we had originally thought we'd be traveling, not the way we originally thought we'd be living, not the originally way we thought we'd be working, but God's best way.
I can't share details yet at this point, the mister is still working out some details and confirming some things, but I can tell you this:
God is the God of yebo!
We had four things that we asked Him to show us in preparation for moving to Africa and He said yes, yes, yes, and yes.
I love that God's "no"s are actually "yes"s....yes to the best. Too often, we are willing to settle for second best. Or even third or fourth or last.
We, in our human limitedness, just can't see the whole picture. We think, whether it is because we're seeing through a screen of rejection or insecurities or even just mortality, that we know what is best for us and those around us. Sometimes, what we think is best is really settling or maybe even pretty crummy. Or, what we think is best might be amazingly awesome but it is not what He knows is best for us and those He wants us to impact for His Kingdom.
He has Kingdom plans that are bigger than our feeble human minds can perceive. He has plans that have been in the works since before the foundation of the earth was put in place. He sees the beginning, the middle, the end, the forever. He has been working in each of our lives from before we were even born to bring out His good and perfect plans for the world.
His plans are no surprise to Him. Our choices are no surprise to Him. He promises us in Romans 8:28:
"We know that in all things God works for good with those who love Him, those whom He has called according to His purpose."
Keeping it real here, but before our trip to Swaziland, I was feeling pretty anxious. I had all these questions looming over our situation and I knew that the responsibility was being given to me and my team of girls to go, look, listen, and connect, then come back and share it with Jim and the family. Jim kept assuring me that the weight of the decision was not mine to carry. I was just to go and "spy out the land". But the kids left at home and myself, kept putting that responsibility back on my weak, freckled shoulders.
Praise God that His shoulders are so much wider than mine. Praise God that He is merciful and good and kind and patient and rich in provision. Praise God that He knows I am not the provider of all wisdom. Praise God that He knows I can easily be made to doubt myself. Praise God that He sent me with a group of women who had eyes to see and ears to hear. Praise God that He is not a sneaky and capricious God who makes finding His will difficult. Praise God that He wants us to obey Him and makes it clear on how we will do just that. Praise God that He knows our heart, knows that we want to serve Him the way He wants to be served, and that He is answering our questions in His perfect timing.
I can't share details now as Jim is still working at confirming some things, but I can say that I am so thankful for God's clear direction. His will is so much better than I could ever have even imagined just a few months ago.
I love Him so much and I praise Him, praise Him, praise Him.
Praise Him that He is so good.
Praise Him that He is the God of "YES".
Praise Him that He is the God of "YEBO".