I give in!!!

“You can take the person out of Britain but you can’t take Britain out of the person!”

I was excited about going to our mum’s Church group for the first time on a Saturday afternoon last year. They said it started at 15:00 so I arrived at the Church a few minutes early and waited………….and waited…………..and one of the mum’s turned up about 15:40 then another about 15:50 and so on. As the weeks went on I realised that this was the norm, however I was adamant that I would turn up on time each week and show the women how important it is to make the most of the time we have together. If they arrive an hour and a half late and people have to leave at 17:00, it doesn’t leave much time to study the Bible together and pray. They agreed with me when I told them that, but it still kept happening.

Then we went back to the UK for home assignment and upon our return, one of the ladies said that they would meet earlier at 14:00 to give more time. Positive sign! The programme for that week was visits and I thought it would be good for Chloe to come along with me to experience visiting peoples homes and sharing God’s Word. So we set out for Church, Chloe with her Bible in hand, and we arrived at 14:00. At 14:30 I rang Sergio and asked him how long we should wait for as Chloe was already getting fidgety and wanting to go home. While I was on the phone one of the ladies appeared. We waited at Church for another 20mins and as no one else showed up, we decided to go and meet some of the ladies that live near to where we were visiting. As we were driving in the car, another lady rang the lady I was with and said she was nearly at Church. So we stopped where we were and waited for her to arrive. By this time Chloe was really not happy to wait anymore. However, we waited for this lady by the side of the road. By this time it was 15:00. We waited another 20mins. Finally she showed up and said that another lady was on her way and to wait for her. You can imagine how Chloe (and I) must now be feeling. Thankfully the two ladies decided that we should go as others were waiting for us elsewhere. So we went to meet the others ladies. At this time I was thinking that maybe we could at least visit one house, but Chloe had had enough. She was over doing visits and demanding we went home. At this point one of the ladies came to me and said that the visiting programme wasn’t working out (obviously it wasn’t the first time this had happened) so they would just go to one of the ladies homes and share a passage of the Bible and pray. She said they didn’t mind that I went home as Chloe wasn’t happy. So at about 15:45 we got in the car to go home.

So we spent an hour and forty-five minutes waiting for something that didn’t end up happening! Frustrated isn’t the word. The enthusiasm that I had felt for the group evaporated and I actually felt quite angry, angry that I was looking forward to doing visits and that Chloe had missed out on this opportunity that had become an annoyance rather than a learning experience. On the way home I thought to myself, what do I do? This is so annoying and frustrating that each week I have to wait for ages while I leave Sergio with the children so I can attend the group when the ladies don’t seem to be able to arrive on time.

So my options were to:

  1. Stop going to the group
  2. Carry on as I have been, getting frustrated each time
  3. Arrive late like them

From the beginning, as I said I was adamant to prove a point by arriving on time each week. It’s important to me that we use the time wisely. If someone says it starts at 15:00, it should start at 15:00 (proper British I am, hence it’s Liz writing this and not Sergio the Brazilian). I would not give in! If I don’t want to keep getting angry and frustrated then I need to stop attending the group as I’m not going to arrive later like them. I didn’t was to stop going as I really love being a part of the mum’s group at Church, and what good would that do. It wouldn’t change their time keeping if I were to stay or leave. It would just mean that I would miss out on fellowship with the group. So option 1 was out, option 2 was also out. That leaves option 3. Nope I can’t, Im British, I can’t arrive late, its wrong, its against my culture,…….! In the end I asked God what should I do? So I decided to give in! I needed to put aside what I think as very important in order for me to build relationships with these women, to be able to share with them, to get alongside them, to grow together, which I realised was more important. It’s not good for me to continue getting frustrated with them, knowing they would arrive late.

So from now on, I have my own time to arrive! I told one of the ladies and she agreed it would be good for me. I now arrive half an hour later than the given time. On Saturday we had a time of prayer and fasting which was to start at 9am. So I rocked up at 9:30 and it was so nice not to be the first person there as two ladies had already arrived.

I didn’t want to change, but now I see the benefits of the change I have made. Sometimes we have to give in to things that we see as so important, that may not be so important to others, so that we can be blessed and be a blessing.