African Time

Posted: September 27, 2013 by Patrice Miles in Egbe, Egbe Nigeria, H.E.L.P., Miles In Missions
Tags: , , , , , ,
Egbe Friends

Hillary and Courtney at our house on Pizza and cookie night!

As I was excitedly collecting different odds and end snacks from my cupboard, Shola was pulling hot cinnamon rolls out of the oven. I put several of  them in a ziplock bag. Two young missionary girls, Courtney and Hillary, arrived last week at HELP care center. They are staying for six months and were craving some US food. I know how quickly you start to miss your comfort foods and American things so I wanted to deliver some Joy to them.

I rushed out the door with all my goodies thinking is would only take me 10 minutes at the most to get to HELP. We had a dinner to be at at 6pm so I had to hurry in order to get everything done. I dropped Shola at her house because it was on my route to HELP and then I stopped at the supermarket and paid my bill. Once at HELP I was on a mission to deliver the goods. I found the girls and walked right passed John the coordinator and Uncle Charles who watches over the boys. Uncle Eman who also helps with the boys was sitting with the Courtney and Hillary and I didn’t even say anything to him. He greeted me after I had been talking to the girls for a few minutes and seemed a little hurt. We started to head to the car to get the box of goodies and Hillary stopped and greeted John the coordinator as we passed. He looked at me and said “You didn’t greet me?” His tone sounded hurt and it then hit me of every mistake I had just made in the past 15 minutes while on my mission to bring Joy.

Egbe Nigeria ClockWhen I dropped Shola off I greeted her children but there was a younger man there and I didn’t greet him or even find out who he was or his name. At the supermarket, I said hello but that was it. I didn’t ask the owner how she was or how her children were. At HELP I pulled in and barreled my way past everyone on my mission.  Some of you in US may be saying, “What’s the big deal?” In Yorubaland greetings are a very big deal. I had just left a trail of disrespect and unkindness on my mission to deliver Joy.  I started to wonder how many times in the US I did this same thing. How many opportunities did God put in front of me to build relationships and my task was more important?

I used to get frustrated at African time, but now I am starting to understand it. If I am late 15-30 minutes my host will understand. That 15-30 minutes will have been used to be a light to people and  relationships will be deepened.

I know I am forgiven but it still pains my heart to know the impressions of the “busy American” I had left on the hearts of these people. God is helping me to remember that everything I do all day even the mundane things like paying a supermarket bill have His name written all over it. I am to be a light everywhere I go not just when my calendar says it is ministry time. I used to get so mad at people that were late. Now I am thinking African time isn’t so bad if God gets to touch people along the way. God please help me to slow down and see the opportunities you put in front of me everyday to be a light for your kingdom.

  1. Jeff and Debbie says:

    It looks like He has placed His desire in your heart and you are seeing it. He will grant those desires. They are good. We are praying for you all. God Bless you!!

    • Jan Dixon says:

      Hi Patrice. Good to read the blog. What a continuing challenge it is for Ross and I to be the light /joy in passing to others here in Nowra. Continuing to be God’s word to people in our street is our present challenge that Egbe has awakened again/still.Thanks for sharing your joy story!
      Thanks for the links to your Mission Mums; have sent it on to our daughter,Kathryn, in Burkina Faso. She is facing huge challenges as they wait on God to show them what their ministry will look like in 2015.
      Have visited SIM today to debrief with our directors; very constructive time.
      Looking forward to sharing with you more of Egbe. Praying for you all who are constantly there.
      Love (Ross and ) Jan (Dixon).

  2. Allison Meenach says:

    Patrice, I read your posts and try to learn something from each one. While I was reading this my initial reaction was to defend the busy American and our timeframes ,as I too get extremely frustrated when people are late. I find nothing wrong with that way of life being that it IS part of our culture and the way Americans choose too live. Having said that, personally I will pay much better attention to whom I breeze past in a frantic rush to make MY day go better and boost MY ego. I think there is a lot of wisdom and kindness to be gained from your story and I’m hoping for happier friendlier days to come as I think about how others’ days may go as a result of my kindness. Thank you Patrice.

    • The one thing I always cherished about our relationship was your honesty and your willingness to always make changes if necessary. I love you! Your words were an encouragement to me more than you know!

  3. James and Mary Eicher says:

    we are so proud of you hon for seeing what you had done and doing something about it. Yes Americans are selfish. Grandpa and I have slowed down to minister to people. That is a must for people to see we really care. Again we love you all there. Grandpa and Grandma in Texas/ Jim and Mary Eicher

  4. Jennifer Forman says:

    WE all need to learn these lessons. Give our love to everyone there. Praying for you all. I am enjoying keeping up with you through your posts and seeing every one.
    Jennifer Forman

  5. Tim Rumsey says:

    What a beautiful life lesson you have just reminded me. Thank you and God bless!

  6. garrison says:

    Love it!!!!! So good. Needed that.

  7. Joseph O. says:

    I do understand the lessons to be learned. However, I believe those you are interacting with understand that you are from a different culture and still on a learning curve – and learning fast, too. E ku ise Oluwa. God bless you

  8. Jolene Eicher says:

    Well said, daughter. Thanks for sharing God’s love lesson

  9. azteccf says:

    Well, I think I remember a prayer request that had something to do with discovering what it is that God wanted you to be doing in Egbe while your hubby was doing his maintenance thing! You mentioned the HELP kids at that time, and I knew there were relationship to be formed! But here I think I see another side of what God is accomplishing! Oh and by the way, the next time you see Daddy John, please give him a big hug from me! Thank you for this, Patrice! Blessings tonight to you and Lenny!

  10. Rick says:

    You are right in that a simple greeting can mean so much. Many times I ask the question why do we just walk by people without saying hello? We can be ones to learn a greater lesson from those we are serving by hearing them in their ways of loving us.
    Keep posting the journey.

  11. Laura Hobbs says:

    And you have now inspired others (like me) to SLOW DOWN!!!! Praying for you guys 🙂

  12. Frankie Botos says:

    You guys are absolutely amazing. I will make sure I slow down and greet everyone in my path from now on. You all dont realize the impact you all are having on so many people here at home why you all are a world away. Always great to hear your alls stories.

  13. Aida Darnell says:

    i just returned from Myrtle Beach where I spent a week on vacation with 3 friends. One of my friends was always so put out that the other two were always so slow because they stopped to talk to EVERYONE they came in contact with. A grocery clerk, a gas station attendant, a waiter, the maid, etc. Her impatience got to me and after reading your blog I realize that I was right to be perturbed with her attitude. They were making contacts and spreading joy by brightening the day for those people that most just ignore. How sad that my friend was missing out on learning so much about people and what we all have to offer, so matter who or what we are.

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