Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Would've thunk my family was kinda African?

So, to be able to relate to people, it's important to come up with things we have in common. Here in Africa, I feel like I'm always talking about my family. It's what I like to talk about and it's what they like to hear.

Nearly everyone lives in community, mostly with extended family. It's odd that our little family would leave our extended family in America to live "by ourselves" in Africa. In order to show them family is important to us and that what we're doing is that important that we'd leave them, I have to tell them stories.

I tell them about my sisters and all their kids. 

My sister-in-law and #5.
They love it. The media has told them that Americans only have one or two kids and don't breastfeed. When they hear that my sisters have 4, 4, and 5 (6th on the way) each... so far, they love it. Even they think it's crazy! "One of your sisters gives birth every year!!!!!!!" Yes, it's even odd here. I often get asked how many we're going to have. When I say as many as God blesses, they beam and exclaim with joy.
I tell them about my precious grandpa's funeral.

Some of the family gathered for the funeral.
I few months ago over 50 people gathered, ate, and slept at our family compound in California. We had three small houses and three campers. People didn't even have to sleep in the tree house! It's the way we roll, and we loved it. When I tell them that this is unusual in America but common for my family, they say "It seems you're already Ghanaian." You see, they live in compounds here, they work together and provide for each other in everything, and funerals are of utmost importance.
I tell them that in America, Josh and I live with his grandparents.
They love this and can totally relate.
Yes, what we've gotten ourselves into - helping people use and understand God's Word - is worth it. The pains of not knowing the language, unreliable electricity and water, washing diapers by hand, or soaking food in bleach, pale in comparison to the pains of being away from our family.

This, my friends, is how I bond with people.


  1. How beautiful! Ruthie, as I read what what you wrote about your lives over in Africa being worth all of the inconveniences, I was listening to the part of How Beautiful by Twila Paris that says, "How beautiful the feet that bring the sound of good news and the love of the King!" Truly, it is a beautiful thing to bring the love of the King wherever you go. Thank you for your example. I find it interesting that you are able to encourage your friends (used to large families) there with stories of our large family, while here, I am able to witness to others (with small families) about how GREAT it is to have a large family because God is glorified through each member. Then I tell them that you guys are in Africa and I think they think we're all crazy, but it certainly starts the gears turning in a new way for them. The same story you're telling is the same one I'm telling and it's accomplishing the same purpose through different routes :) Ruthie, I think I'm beginning to understand more of the manifold blessings the Lord has given us through a godly heritage and such a huge family! God is good.
    Love and miss you guys. Praying for you lots.

    1. Thank you, Ellie! So great to read your encouragement here. Love you tons!

  2. wonderful! this is something that i really think is missing in american culture. if families are "too involved" we invent words to describe it like enmeshed or codependent. quite frankly, why WOULDN'T you want to have those words describe your family? they are your family. friends mean a great deal, and are, indeed, a gift, but God is the one who places people in families. this is one of the reasons we live where we live, with 2 houses on our property. i love that my parents can be so involved with our kids, and they can just jump on a bike or a scooter and run down the street to see them. we did that on purpose. i've always wished i had a bigger family. i have only 1 brother, he's 13 years older than me, and he decided to remove himself, physically and emotionally, from the family. this is one of the main reasons i've attached myself so firmly to dave's family and appreciate mary's friendship so much. i love that our families can be connected.

    1. Rachel, the more I see of different cultures, the more I feel like I learn different things about our wonderful God. He's created a beautiful masterpiece of varying peoples that reflect different aspects of Himself. So great to hear about your family community. Isn't it wonderful to have support and fellowship with loved ones?! I know Mary appreciates your friendship, too.


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