21 May 2014

of dust and criticism

Living on the back side of the Sahara Desert for 13 years, I became intimately acquainted with dust. Keeping desert dust from simply moving in and taking over the house? Well, I jokingly, sorta, say that THAT was my full time job. Or battle. If I stick with the battle metaphor, it was one I lost on a very regular basis. Dust was everywhere, regardless of how hard I tried, how hard I worked, how much time I spent - covering the kitchen table, on the fruit in the basket, at the bottom of my coffee cup once I'd finished drinking, on the laundry line leaving a line on our clothes even when I remembered to wipe it off....

Not too many days ago, our Niamey friends posted FB pictures of the first dust storm of the season. We always looked forward to that first storm. It meant that the rainy season was finally starting to approach and after nine to ten months of no precipitation, we welcomed the rain.

I used to think the Hollywood versions of dust storms had to be totally overdone and greatly exaggerated. Then I experienced my first storm; an enormous wall of dust rolled in, the sky turned an eerie orange, then continued to darken. The air gets palpably thick... with the really big, really dense storms, it could turn pitch black. Normally these storms would roll through in ten to fifteen minutes, were often followed by welcomed rain and clearer, fresher air. One time I remember the dusty darkness arrived in the afternoon, and was not followed by an immediate rain. We did not see the sun again until the next day - and then, only through a dusty haze. My sometimes slightly strange TCK children revel in dust storms. They love to go outside and run and play, celebrating (while somewhat choking) in the glorious windy-ness of every storm, but particularly the first one of each season.

Needless to say, my relationship with dust has been one of mostly-hate/very-occasionally-love, on so many levels.


...a group came from the States to lead a conference for the purpose of encouraging the missionaries – and I was introduced to this song for the first time.

...You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us

All around
Hope is springing up from this old ground
Out of chaos life is being found in You...

I first heard this song at a time when I was feeling very dust-like... But what does that mean?... 

To read the rest and join in the conversation, head on over to a life overseas: the missions conversation, where I'm posting today.

Hope to see you... over there!

All dust storm photos by Esther Garvi and were used with permission. Check out more photos of that storm and read a blog post about her harrowing experience here.

Song lyrics, Beautiful Things by Gungor

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