I became good friends with a man named Musiyoke. Musiyoke is the herdsman at the compound where I am living. He takes care of and tends about 6 cows from which we get our milk. There are also a hundred-something chickens in our chicken coup which provide us eggs (people have dubbed them the “ywam worship team” from the noise they make). There used to be goats on the compound which we warmly referred to as “ywam goats”, but recently we ate them.
I have been hanging out with Musiyoke a lot and learning how to herd and milk cows. He has a favorite saying– “God is God”–and shows an amazing amount of trust in him. For example, while other herdsmen follow their cows everywhere and beat them with sticks to keep them in line, Musiyoke lets them go off by themselves and never uses a stick to beat them (called an “urungu”). Later when he goes to retrieve them at the end of the day they all show up accounted for, and he never has a problem. He is in his second year of being a Christian, is 29, and has quite a story. He happens to have a brilliant knowledge of the Bible that blew me out of the water. When I wondered how someone can know the book so well, I realized that when he goes out into the bush and waits around for the cattle to come home from day to day, he would have this one book in his possession, reading it all day long. Truly astounding.
I find that Musiyoke’s whole philosophy of life seems to be “God is God” and I like that. Now yesterday, we went to buy a new cow for the base. We hiked out into the bush for 2 hours to the place where it was, and then we proceeded to spend the next 4 and a half hours trying to get it back. This was the most stubborn cow I have ever seen. We sat in a ravine for 45 minutes trying to figure out what to do because it sat down and refused to move. Often it would be clever and run into thickets and thorn bushes so as to make us let go of the rope. If we let it loose it would run away from us. If we tied it, it would not go.
At the farm where it was, I watched as 10 guys tried to control it so they could put a rope around its neck. It was angry, and they could not. Now to get it home, it was just me Musiyoke and 2 other guys! God gave grace eventually and it began to cooperate in the end, but not after giving us sore arms and legs. There was even more grace in this, in that we had no water the whole time.
Remind me to take water next time.