The kindness of the island

Disclaimer:  Please note all social distancing practices for delivery etc were followed stringently at all times and most items were dropped at our gate. Also I may or may not talk about feminine hygiene products in this post. 

In the first few days of being here we swung between feeling nervous and excited at the prospect of staying in Mauritius for an extended period and then also feeling very overwhelmed by the idea of being away from home for such a long time. While the island way lured us in, we immediately felt the tension of being so restricted with our supplies and the necessary things we felt we needed to navigate and lead our church through this pandemic and global lockdown. 

We spoke to many trusted voices. Most told us to relax and BE here. To embrace the unexpected rest and see this as an opportunity to find wisdom and vision for the future. It took a few days for us to make peace with the reality of ‘here’ but it was honestly the trusted words of our Pastor and friend Rory Dyer that opened my mind and heart to God being in EVERY PART of our situation. That perhaps, this was not some ridiculous accident. We are where we are supposed to be in this time. Rory led us to this scripture that recounts the time where Paul was stranded on the island of Malta. Acts 28 tells us that Paul is shipwrecked (STRANDED OR STUCK! HELLO) on an island and the people who lived there showed him extreme kindness and welcomed him. They honoured him greatly and gave him all the supplies needed for the journey.

Rory spoke over us that as we found ourselves “stuck” here we would feel the kindness of the island.

For most of you who are not aware the lock down in Mauritius has been way more strict than in South Africa. Our movement has been restricted. We have been unable to leave our house in any way or enjoy the ocean. Shops were CLOSED for 8 days in an attempt to curb crowding and we were given NO notice of this shut down. So in a nutshell our food situation hasn’t always been easy and trying to figure this out in such an unknown foreign environment has been quite challenging.

It was in this time of extreme lockdown that I began to feel the truth of Rory’s words. In a space of 5 days we were given extra supplies from neighbours and encouraged to use the supplies in a private cupboard of the person who owns the house. A family in our region who heard that we were here dropped off two big bags of groceries taken from their own pantry. The bags are filled with many things we needed like rice and bread but also with things that would give us a sense of holiday like ice cream, chocolate cake and meat. Friends who have relocated here have tried to order us fresh produce online and managed to get us a delivery of extra groceries to help relieve some of the tension of that time. Today I got a message to say a new friend on the island has ordered us eggs and vegetables that will be delivered tomorrow. This is good news because we are still yet to make it into a grocery store. A local church somehow heard of one of our daughter’s desire for lego and dropped off 2 big containers of lego arrived at our gate along with other games and books. They gave us more than we even dreamt of in this time and helped us create a greater sense of home.

And then. If that was not enough. Can I reiterate we were not supposed to be here now. And because I’m one of those that track my cycle. (Thats the monthly progression of changes and things that happen in a woman’s body) I did not come prepared for said moment. I thought we wold be safely home by now, and hello, never thought I would not be able to shop! But alas no. The time came and my poor husband went to many under stocked chemists. I had resided myself to the fact that I was gonna have to make a plan (let’s be honest most of rural Africa does this monthly) but it wasn’t going to be pretty and I was not entirely happy about the situation. In a weak and desperate moment I messaged a lady who reached out to us, who doesn’t know me, and explained my plight. She had to do some work to locate these items but she succeeded and that afternoon she dropped them off and we shared a brief moment of understanding through the car window. We couldn’t hug, but her eyes told me she got it, and that we were in it together and I  was going to be ok. 

I went inside and cried again that afternoon. I wept because my pride was nowhere to be found and I wept because of the kindness of the island. People who were indeed giving us everything we needed and more. They have and continue to honour us with the supplies we need for our journey. They show us empathy and understanding. They reach out and offer us advice and help on a daily basis. The depth of humanity here has blown me away. The extent of community and their willingness to reach beyiond their own stories has captivated my heart.

Maybe just maybe God marooned us on this slice of paradise to position us for something greater back home. Maybe we needed to be away from home to have a revelation of HOME? Maybe we needed to be away to see the enormity of what He sees for South Africa and the African continent? Who knows. For now we are just taking one day at a time. Trusting in His lead and in His hand and in His perfect timing. And so, every morning as I look at the horizon I thank God for the people of this island. For the ones who have embraced us. Who have welcomed me onto local facebook communities and platforms. Who have included me in online orders ad just shown up in our lives asking nothing in return

My prayer for you dear Mauritius is 
That He would pour out His favour and blessing upon you
That He would grow your economy and give you strategy for business and development in the future.
That He would provide for you and protect you
That He would bless your families and revitalise marriages
That He would explode tourism 
That He would grow opportunities for people to be educated and invested in 
That He would plant churches in every corner of this land that would bring a message of truth and hope to all people 
That the peace of God would rule here even now as we navigate this crisis together.
I’ve prayed and I pray daily GOD BLESS MAURITIUS. GIVE HER EXACTLY WHAT SHE NEEDS AND MORE. If you are here on this precious land know that God sees and knows you and you are perfectly protected and provided for, by Him in this time.
And to every ONE. Every message. Every extreme act of generosity. Thank you. Thank you for your faithfulness and love. Thank you for your Island kindness. 

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