an incomprehensible request

18 03 2013

We are beginning to get used to things we simply do not understand.  When we first went to Uganda we worked out that in every situation there would be at least one thing that simply made no sense. Figure out what that thing is, laugh about it, and we could somehow cope.

That philosophy has changed slightly now in Tanzania. Presently we try to find one thing that DOES make sense…

Last week Deon received a very odd request.  We are rather used to saying no to all the appeals that are made to us: lighter skin generally means you are seen as a ‘purse” in these parts. pigment purses

We had a new one last week:

Deon had been in to a vodacom shop to get some money (through M-pesa, a great way of getting money from the company). We do this every few days, and he thought nothing of this visit.

Later that evening, Deon received this sms:

“Good evening Dad how a’r you doing my name is Anitha I would like to join with u’r family.the first day I saw you in M-pesa shop and I was the one working in. but sorry my english is not good at all.” (sic)

There were three or four nightly messages after that, the most peculiar being “yummy night my parent’s with God blesing!”

How does one compute all this? There was laughter, disbelief, my obvious derision at weak English. 

Our first thought was of a rather regular trend of local people seeking a pale-male husband with wealth to share.  Yes, looking for a sugar daddy, as the first message seems to suggest. 

As I had not been into the shop with Deon, I sent back a message indicating that I am Deon’s wife, he does not need a second wife, and that we are not in the market for extra adult members of our family. 

Obviously this did not work as we received further messages wishing us ‘yummy nights’ and other good night wishes. We followed on with ignoring messages and a flat out “go away” from Deon.

I am not sure exactly what the correct response to such requests is.  I know in this case we did not feel like a complete stranger from a city across the country from where we live would be a great addition to our family.  I have considered adoption of a child, but an adult at work was not ever on the list of prospective adoptees. 

We laughed about it for a while, were a little frustrated at the attitude we see so often here… and surely taking a customer’s number to seek your own benefit is a form of harassment? We are sure she did not want to be in our family so that she could make us cake for our birthdays…

Consider for a few moments how you would have handled this matter.  I wonder if just one of you would have phoned that girl right back and said, “Hey!  Yes!  We were looking for another adult family member! In fact, bring the whole bunch of you over! Come over right away, I am longing to meet you!”


And yet, this is the exact situation we are offered with a Father far above any earthly Father’s limitations. 

Where our natural inclination is to laugh at the ridiculous request we received, the spiritual invitation is to make the exact request.

John 1:12 promises “To all who believed Him and accepted Him He gave the RIGHT to be called children of God.”  (NLT)

If Anitha were to go around signing herself as Deon’s daughter, we would be most upset.  But we have a RIGHT (btw, the only RIGHT the Bible speaks of!) to go around name-dropping.  “My Daddy says…”  “My Father is…”  How amazing is that?

What an unimaginable concept in the natural world, yet we may call him any affectionate name we can think of. “Abba” was a warm name for a father, speaking of intimacy and a close bond, in the time of the new testament.  We may use “baba”, “pops”, “dad” to come close  to our heavenly Father. (Romans 8:15, 16 speaks of a spirit of adoption, so that we can call out to Him, with love, in a relationship with Him.)

1 John 3:1 says:  What marvelous love the Father has extended to us! Just look at it—we’re called children of God! That’s who we really are. (The Message)

Wow.  How very unlike this  western world’s standards.  I can send the request: Good evening,  Dad, Father God.  how a’r you doing?  (Jesus would have encouraged a “hallowed be Your name, perhaps?) my name is ___ (fill in the blank)  I would like to join with u’r family. (I have heard the benefits are out of this world…) 

And then just chat.  Tell Him why you would like to be in His family.  All you need to do is believe it, speak it out and then go share about your decision with all  the brothers and sisters out there.

With all the firm trust seen in Anitha’s first text message, and the complete reliance of a child, we are guaranteed of a Father’s love and care if we reach out to Him, to aks Him for His father heart to be shown to us.

Galatians 4: 6 Because you are God’s children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into us to call out, “Abba! Father!”

Go read a bit more in Galatians 4 about this tremendous privilege.

What, in our natural world seems unfathomable is oh-so-ordinary in God’s kingdom.

Now Deon and I  just need to  work out how not have have 76 347 adult Tanzanian children…





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