Being away from home, abroad, has been one of the hardest and yet most fun and growing experiences. I looked forward to getting the much-esteemed international experience for many years. And since being here, I’ve learnt so much about myself that I could have never learned in the comfort of being in my home country.
Whilst I have had some great experiences there have been some lows, as with any normal cycle of life.
One of the lows has been feeling lonely.
I have been in a place where I am surrounded by so many people, familiar faces, even from my home country, Zimbabwe. Gosh, I even worked with some of these people back home, can you believe it? And yet, I still felt lonely at times and the place itself feels unfamiliar to me despite all the things I do like about living on this island.
I have no family here – which I have loved because I am more independent than I’ve ever been (yes, it’s necessary). However, I have also hated the fact that there are days when I need them, there are days when I just want to hug my Mum and Dad, dance to some Joyous Celebration tracks together like we did every night back home – it was a tradition for us.
This is one of the best SA choirs by the way – have a listen on Youtube, you will be ministered to even if you don’t understand all the words, if you want I’ll translate for you 😊. My favourite songs are ‘Abakholwa ku Jesu’ – those who in believe in the name of Jesus and ‘We give you all the Glory’.
I have been complaining lately, with my statement being ‘I just want to get out of here’ (for so many reasons – this weather being the biggest reason!). Someone challenged me recently to ask myself what I have learnt so far and to change my perspective from focussing on what I don’t like here but seeking what else I can learn here. So, I dug out some of the lessons from deep within and thought to share with anyone else who has either moved countries, continents or is just in new place that they can’t wait to get out of.
Lesson 1: I have now come to appreciate is my home church, and the general faith and spirituality in beautiful Zimbabwe.
It’s been hard finding a church to truly call home. Things are different here. Don’t get me wrong, there are a few churches, however, they are just different (not bad or what, just different from what I’m used to). Whilst I miss home and the comfort of my church; the regular routine of midweek service on Wednesday, youth on Friday and service on Sunday, I’ve had to learn to genuinely seek God for myself and not always wait for someone else to lead me to seek Him.
Lesson 2: I’ve come to understand that there is no one else responsible for my relationship with God but myself. Yes, they taught me this earlier 🙂, but it only bore meaning when I embarked on the journey to a new land. It’s so easy to spend time with God, but to also get comfortable in routine programs that determine our church life and how often we get to have encounters with God and fellowship.
Be careful that you don’t get too comfortable in a place. Never allow yourself to get too familiar, that you are unable to connect with God in any other way than the one you were used to, in the places that you were used, that specific prayer corner in your room…..
We should get to a place where we are still able to encourage ourselves in the Lord, able to meditate on His Word day and night, if ever it happened that we are in a foreign land and space.
Sometimes, God take us out of our comfort zone to teach us a new posture, to allow us to see a new face, experience a new thing in Him.
There are so many ‘faces’ of God, if I can use that term. All in one, He is Jehovah Rapha, Jehovah Nissi, Elohim Jehovah Jireh….and every new experience, even the unfamiliar, allows us to see and encounter a new face of God. Don’t be dismayed when you find yourself in unfamiliar territories, look to God and hard as it may be, trust that there is a purpose for which He has put you in the unfamiliar space. I’ve had the privilege of visiting so many churches in the last few years – and whilst each has been different it’s been a great experience, witnessing different miracles in some places, miracles different from the ones I was used to seeing and hearing about at home.
And it has been made easier for me to experience these things because I’ve been away from home, my usual space. (Will share some more simple yet freeing lessons from these visits with you all)
Lesson 3: I am Growing bolder by speaking and sharing about my faith. Generally, at home, it’s kind of assumed that one is a Christian, unless they expressly state they are not. It’s basically the opposite here from what I’ve seen. It’s so easy to speak about Jesus and share your faith when amongst Christians, just fueling each other’s fire and passion, right?
But how about when you are the only believer in the current setting?
I worked in a place where someone told me that they believe church is a place where people go just to get high on happy emotions.
They wouldn’t get it, when I didn’t want to go certain places with them or why when I did attend the odd work functions I would decline to have an alcoholic drink.
Initially, my response would be ‘no, I’m ok’.
Over time, God has given me the boldness to state explicitly that it’s because of my faith and personal convictions. Some cringe, some just smile, and I can guess what goes through their mind at that point.
It’s tempting to just want to fit in, so you don’t seem like the brainwashed geek from Africa, but you know what –
the longer I have been here, God has shown me that it’s ok to be the Daniel of your time. Do not defile yourself.
God places us in a place, for a purpose. Even in the unfamiliar and uncomfortable place – there is a purpose. Sometimes that purpose is as simple as developing the boldness to declare the Name of Jesus Christ. If you are like me, and the spirit of just complaining about where you are has kicked in, reflect on why God has placed you where you are.
There is a reason, a purpose. The steps of the righteous are ordered of the Lord, and even if it is not evident all the time, the Lord keeps you. Why am I here? If I am completely transparent with you guys, I do not know all the reasons for which I am here, but I trust that God will continue to unfold them one at a time as He has done so far. I am trusting and believing He holds my world in his hands (Please listen to Israel Houghton’s ‘You hold my world in your hands’ – sorry for asking you to listen to 3 songs already in one blog, worship music helps me communicate to God the things that I sometimes fail to communicate in my own capacity.)
Stay blessed. Be encouraged.
Who Is Thule?
Thuli Dube, is a Chartered Accountant, Author and Publishing Consultant, who finds her therapy, healing and release in writing. Nurturing a beautiful love affair between her pen and paper, Thuli draws her inspiration from scripture, life events, pictures, almost anything! She has a heart for young women and a passion for youth education and empowerment. Born and raised in Zimbabwe, she currently resides in the Channel Islands. Thuli believes in living a purpose driven life and making an impact on her immediate community. She aspires to enable individuals to fully realise what they were created to accomplish. She also assists other budding authors with tools and skills to publish their manuscripts and distribute them globally. She is the author of ‘The Scent of Freedom, Rest in You’, a memoir about finding healing and freedom from the past and insecurities and learning to forgive oneself for their mistakes. In 2016, she was nominated for the Author of the Year Award for the 2016 Zimbabwe International Women’s Award and was also featured in the Gumiguru’s Zimbabwean Top 40 Emerging Leaders under 30 for the year 2016.