Chase away the goats! Chase away the goats!" I heard that cry every afternoon when my daughter came home from school. We lived beside neighbors who kept goats in their yards even though it was prohibited by the Council. Though our house was surrounded by gates, the people who visited our neighbors would often leave the gates open as they walked through our yard.
Our neighbors were quite different. Actually, they were prostitutes. The traffic through our neighborhood was brisk and, of course, whenever the gates were left open, the goats would rush into our yard and eat whatever they could find.
We were in a dilemma. We were facing economic hardships, and we needed every vegetable we were growing. The goats were demolishing our food supply! We wanted to be good witnesses to our neighbors, so instead of complaining over and over about the goats, we would simply chase them away each day.
The situation continued, and we prayed for guidance from the Lord on how we should handle the problem. I recalled some of Jesus' words when He said, "Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father, which is in heaven." Our family was determined to let our light shine even though we faced the "goat" problem every day.
We began to look at the situation as a test of our faith. Perhaps our neighbors were waiting to see the light shining from us. Perhaps they were waiting to see how we "Christians" would react to a stressful situation. We were determined to keep quiet. We knew we would reap from the garden whatever the Lord wanted us to have.
I have heard stories of people who were in similar situations. In our country, many Christians are fighting with non-Christians about land. Dear Shepherdesses, we are not commissioned to fight for lands, argue with neighbors, or exchange vulgar words with others. We are on this earth to help spread the Gospel. We are to lead by example. Remember what Jesus had to endure while He was on this planet. He was rebuked, mocked, and lied about, yet He remained silent.
We live among non-believers. My family and I have no close friends. Many people in the village ignore us because of our beliefs. When my husband is gone, my children and I are particularly lonely. We find solace in the fact that we are here for the Gospel's sake.
I have needed a housemaid for some time. With three young children and a husband who spends a great deal of time ministering to others, a housemaid would help me greatly. I could leave my children with her and occasionally go somewhere without them. Unfortunately, I have been unable to find someone who is willing to stay with me. The few who have been hired quit because they felt we spent too much time praying and studying the Bible.
We have been in this place since 1994. Sometimes the challenges seem overwhelming, and I plead for strength to overcome the atmosphere around us. When I feel despair, the Lord comforts me, and I know that He is watching over my family. Our trials strengthen us as we go about sharing the love of Jesus with our village brethren.