I just hired an assistant, Tosso. We hiked two hours through the bush to my mud house. “This is my bedroom.” I pointed to one of the single beds. “That bed is yours. And that room there is a parlor, but I use it as a kitchen. I cook on charcoal or with the little kerosene stove. Can you cook with them?”

“Yes, ma’am.”

“How did you cook at home?”

“I chopped firewood and used the campfire.”

At seven the next morning she built the fire and prepared breakfast.

Without technology, the health lessons had to be hand printed. I gave her a large sketch pad and pencils and dictated while she translated and wrote.

At noon I suggested, “Let’s have black-eyed peas and rice.”

While the beans cooked, Tosso said. “I should add the dried fish. Do you have a mortar and pestle?”

Shaking my head I watched her go to the neighbor’s house. A few minutes later the rhythmic beating of the bludgeon-like implement echoed under the hot sun as she pounded the fish. She stirred it into the cooked beans and dished out two heaping plates.

I swallowed a bite. “This is delicious. You are an excellent cook.”

After lunch the patients arrived for treatment and we cared for them all afternoon.

Each evening after the sun set and we had finished supper, I lit the bush lantern and pulled out my notebook to write in my journal. When my eyes started squinting from the kerosene fumes, I lit four candles to read a novel.

Tosso always sat in the wooden chair opposite me and stared at the mud wall. Occasionally she closed her eyes for several minutes and moved her lips.

After several nights of this, I asked. “Would you like one of my books to read?”

“No ma’am.”

“Would you like a word game or something else to do?”

“I am doing something.”



“Have I been giving you too much work?”

“No.” Tosso laughed. “Working for you is easier than my business, and you pay me three times more than I earned each day, but I still need to rest.”

“What was your commerce?”

“I woke at three each morning and started the fire. I mixed flour, leaven, egg, oil and milk. Then I shaped the mixture into fifty doughnuts, which I deep-fried. I put all the beignets in a glass box and set it on my head. I hiked to the open market. From morning until dark I trekked all over the city hawking my beignets.”

“That sounds exhausting.”

“I forced myself to keep going because I had to sell at least ten doughnuts to pay for the ingredients and another ten to buy food for my mother and sisters. And sometimes that didn’t happen until late into the night.” She sighed. “Working for you is easy, but I still need to rest each evening in God’s presence, to meditate on His Word, and recoup my strength.”

But why is resting so difficult for me?

Hebrews 4:9-11 “There remains a rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his.”


About celestecharlene

I served as a medical missionary in West Africa for thirty years treating the sick and establishing health clinics in rural neglected areas.
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One Response to THE REST

  1. mflabar says:

    We can definitely learn a lot from other cultures.

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