Friday, October 19, 2012

Our Haven

As I sit here, there's a breeze blowing through the house, birds singing, my kids playing on the trampoline outside.  I can hear the Call to Prayer in the distance, which is such a part of my life now that I don't even hear it unless I am sitting quietly. 

Peaceful.  Which is strange, really, because I know that this city is not peaceful right now.  So much so, that at 9:00 this morning, HOPAC's administration started calling every parent to tell that that school would close at noon instead of 2:20.  Because this city is not peaceful today, and they were worried about the safety of our students.

A week or two ago, in a far away part of the city, two teenage boys were having an argument over whether a Qur'an would turn into a snake if one urinated on it.  It was, perhaps, a Double-Dog-Dare.  But this was not little kids and a frozen flag pole.  And when the actual event did take place, far worse than the fire department showed up.  The foolish kid who happened to try it would have been beheaded had not the police intervened.  Rioting insued, including the vandalization of a few churches and some cars set on fire. 

Then we heard about rioting on Zanzibar (the predominantly Islamic island off the coast), which is sort of a normal thing for Zanzibar, and I really don't know if it had anything to do with the teenage boy incident.  But then today, there were reports of a large demonstration (rumors have said 100,000 people) starting this afternoon since some rioting-leaders had been imprisoned.  And apparently, if sources were right, Christian churches and institutions would bear the brunt of their anger. 

So.  Since HOPAC is one of those "Christian institutions," we sent the kids home early. 

To be honest, it's hard to even find out right now what is going on, but it sounds like police have essentially shut down the city.  And to be honest, I don't even know what the real reasons are for all this unrest.  But the truth is, the whole world is unrestful right now.  Unless you have your head in a hole, you've been able to see that. 

Tanzania has been proud of their reputation for being a peaceful country.  It has avoided war for 50 years, which is almost unprecedented in Africa.  And Dar es Salaam means Haven of Peace.  So the question is whether or not it will live up to its reputation. 

If you want to pray for our safety and that of HOPAC, then that's great and all, but really?  There are far more important things at stake right now.  Here.  In our world.  We don't just pray for peace, but for Peace.  And sometimes, it takes some riots and some anger and some churches being burned down, for people to start to recognize their need for Peace.  So be it.  To God be the glory.
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