My life with scorpions. I win, but the battle is constant.

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I’m not sure I have every met anyone who likes bugs. I am quite sure I have met many people who HATE bugs though.

When I was a little girl I wasn’t a fan of bees or wasps, but I was always really afraid of grasshoppers! My grandpa was a farmer and so many times my grandma would prepare lunches, snacks and a big jug of sweet tea and take it out to him so he could keep working. I loved to help with this process and have many sweet memories of watching her pack everything with love and care. During harvest season the combine would stir up all the bugs hiding in the plants…..namely the dreaded grasshoppers! I remember at times you could just see swarms of them. (Even still, I get shivers!) I would freeze in fear because it never failed they would jump all over you. Knowing they didn’t bite didn’t make much of a difference, I just didn’t want them ON me! Grandma would unload the food and holler and me, “Sarah Yvonne get out of that car now!” “But Grandma, the grass…..” “Never mind them,come NOW!” I would cry and freak out as those big things flew all around me and Grandpa would sit perched on the combine eating his ham sandwich and laughing at me. Then Grandma would speak in German and I just knew she was making fun of me too!

In junior high, we had to dissect a grasshopper…..I took an incomplete, I couldn’t do it! Gross!

When Kevin and I took our first short term missions trip to Botswana Africa in the summer of 2000, we spent 2 weeks serving in Zambia. I smile thinking about that time because the Zambian people were so welcoming of us and we spent two weeks working in one village and really building relationships with the people.

Part of our campsite was on a harvested corn field and so there were a lot of mice. In addition to mice there were, you guessed it, grasshoppers. I was just sure I might die. While people screamed of mice in their tents, I freaked out about the grasshoppers. I remember one of our translators showing me a HUGE grasshopper that filled the palm of his hand. It was black, red and green and quite beautiful really. When it flew off it’s hand, it sounded like a helicopter. I couldn’t get too close, but I didn’t find myself running away either.

One day I got sick of screaming for Kevin to come pitch them out of our tents that I cupped my hands around one and tossed it out of the tent! And I didn’t die! Crazy as it was, it was a pivotal moment for me because those grasshoppers were just the beginning of a life full of crazy and much more interesting bugs and critters……and many of the poisonous biting type.

A friend of mine posted the other day, “Africa is not for sissies”.

Baboons in my yard, snakes in friends’ houses, spiders that hang out on my walls and lurk in dark corners and scorpions that hide in my son’s clothing left on the floor…….it can all seem pretty normal at times.

Except snakes in the house….I am pretty sure I would light a match and set the whole house on fire.

I can kill a scorpion like a boss though. In this current house we are living in, it seems as though they feel the need to co-habitat with us at times. Some are so small you wouldn’t even see them. Others are so big you can’t miss them. I am grateful that the Lord always tends to let me “see” them when they could become a problem. Just the other day, I went into Andrew’s room and picked up a pile of his clothes on the floor and found a rather large one under the pile. It took a moment to register what it was and in that moment, it darted for the safety of piled toys in the closet. I darted to get Ontse my “son” who lives in our garage because ain’t no way momma is going to go fishing around for a big black scorpion hiding in dark places. In plain site though, this girl will smash a scorpion with no trouble, and I’ve lost count of how many I have sent to their death bed.

It’s a bit unnerving when you find something inside your house that can leave a pretty nasty bite. It’s another to find that said bug where your children are. There is a part of me that gets a bit sick to my stomach when I think about the “what if…”. I’m quickly reminded of a verse that I have held near for many years, Psalm 91: 10-12 “No harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent. For he will command His angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.” (Actually the whole chapter is one that I tend to read when I am feeling unnerved….also Psalm 121.)

Yes, Africa is not for sissies for sure! But oh how I could list the ways that Africa has shown me her love and beauty….as if it’s a gift for putting up with the not so nice parts.

Many share that I am brave for putting up with these things, but really living a brave life means you put up with the “critters” (or the junk) in order to experience the bigger picture…..

Something that’s much more beautiful. It’s worth it. Scorpions and all.

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