Making Chapati is difficult. There are so many steps to go through just to make something that seems so simple (what we would call a tortilla). First you have to buy the flour, which can make or break the whole chapati, because if the flour is bad then the whole thing becomes a disaster. Then you must boil the water, and while it's boiling you mix in some salt and sugar to the flour. 20 minutes later the water is boiling, you pour that into the pan and begin mixing the dough. No, not with a mixer, but with your hands. First of all the water is really HOT, second of all the dough gets stuck all over your hands and it's hard to remove. By hand, mixing the dough takes an hour or more.
Once that is finished you can clean off your hands then cover them in flour. You grab a handful of dough and begin rolling them into little balls. Depending on how many you make, depends on how long this takes, because you have to stretch the dough out well so it doesn't get stiff and then wrap it around your fingers, making sure it does not get stuck to your hands, then make it into a ball and set in on the tray. This particular night we made 21, so this process took another 30 to 45 minutes. Especially because the girls I was cooking with had to keep fixing mine.
When this is completed you grab your rolling pin and your circular cutting board and one little ball of dough. You cover the cutting board in flour and then the dough and begin rolling it out. Now it HAS to be a perfect circle. Sounds simple enough right? NOT. No seriously no matter how many times I tried I could not get that dough to form a circle. I rolled out about 6 chapati's, which took 20 to 30 minutes each and then Mary, one of the girls I am living with, would cook them on the metal-circular pan over the coals. Cooking one took around 10 to 20 minutes because it's hard to keep the coals/fire even in the little stove.
After just rolling out 6 I was exhausted so Flora, another one of the girls I'm living with here, took over and roles out the rest as I became the designated torch holder. We did this all in the dark, outside, in their "kitchen." Now what's the point of me giving you a lesson in making chapati, besides showing you how tough it actually is, and the fact that I have never been so covered in sweat and flour and exhaustion from cooking something that seems so simple.
The point is: I am a Chapati.
And God, He is this exhausted baker covered in sweat and flour.
He has taken so many steps to prepare me for this journey and He still is preparing me. But I am stubborn just like the dough and many time I refuse to form into the circle He wants me to. Even when I think I am a pretty good looking oval, He tells me "I made you to be a beautiful circle." He tells me that no matter how hard I try to make things works, to push things, to try to hold everything on my shoulders, never asking for help, to roll myself back up into a ball of dough. He knows exactly where I am and where I am suppose to be and He continues to mold me, continues to roll me out and shape me into a beautiful circle. And I know that is what He is doing now.
Through the past month times have been hard for Miriam and I, no it's not that we are home sick, it's not that we have culture shock, it's that sometimes God places us in situations where our job is to reveal the heart of man, through Christ, and it's tiring and tough and something we didn't think we would be doing here. There have been many trials, many angry moments, frustrated moments, many tears and many many many prayers. But we know that the trials and the hardship we are facing have grown us together and strengthen us as ministry partners and as friends. The things we are facing now are necessary. Because God is rolling us out, stretching our faith.
When the Chapati's are finished they are delicious (there one of Miriam and I's favorite thing to eat here). It is worth all that work in the end because when I swallow that Chapati that I worked so hard, the feeling in my stomach of fullness and joy is perfect. And I know when this journey is finished all of the hard times will be worth. I know we will look back and think of these moments and wonder how we made it though. But we know that in the end we will have that feeling of fullness, that feeling of joy. We know, because we will be beautiful circles.
Just as God intended.
Being rolled out,
HIS and yours,