Walking through the early morning forest was an exercise in exhilaration for Alessandra. Everything smelled fresh and heavy with tropical moisture. Minutes later Tshala stopped and stepped through a narrow opening in the foliage into her garden. She stood Alessandra up on a fallen log next to her and proudly pointed out the perimeter of her plot to her guest. The whole garden was about the size of a football field or larger.
From chopping wood with a machete to picking oranges, the two women worked for hours. Alessandra was not used to this level of physical labor. She rested longer at lunch time than Tshala did and took frequent breaks throughout the afternoon. By three o’clock, they were finished and packed up everything for the walk home. Tshala carried a heavy pack with manioc roots and firewood. Alessandra’s backpack was filled with oranges, and she toted another with tomatoes and avocados. The return trip seemed twice as long to Alessandra’s work-weary body. It was hard to keep up with Tshala. At last, they reached the canoe where they had to wait for a spot to cross. The boatmen charged more for the return trip because the mamas needed extra space for all their wares. The trek up the hill tested Alessandra’s endurance. She said goodbye to her friend and pounded on the Carmichael’s gate. Cathy met her and grabbed her packs. Jackie and Jennie led her to a wicker chair, and Jimmy brought out Kool-Aid. It was a pleasant way to end her day and her first full week in the interior of the Congo.
Sometimes, we get weary. Many days we are physically worn out. But still during other seasons in life, we are completely weighed down with emotional or mental stress. But we are not walking this journey alone. Jesus gives this generous invitation,” Come unto me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and you shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matt. 11: 28-30) By yoking or partnering with our Bigger, Stronger Brother, Jesus, we can have Him carry the heavy end and rest in His comfortable strength. With His help, we can complete our tasks without becoming exhausted. Beautiful!