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"Therefore go and make disciples of all nations . . ."(Matt 28:19)

19 February, 2013

Relief . . .


One of the hardest parts of transition, and one for which there is no specific timeline, is the unknown. Not knowing. Not being known. No history. Transition.

Last week we were suddenly able to push the “pause” button on our transition and step into the known. Whew! What a relief. It is difficult for us to articulate to each other, let alone to someone else, but what a relief to know!

To know where to expect potholes in the road, to know where to find what we want, to know it will cool off every evening, to know how to greet people and how to respond to their greetings. To have history with those we meet because we have been to their home, we have held their children, we have prayed in their church, we have cried with them in their losses. To have people inquire about our children because they watched them grow as they helped us raise them. To know the schedule and the most likely time to find the people we need to see.  All of this brought relief to our souls and refreshment to our spirits. All because we know and we are known.

As we drove into Kenya and began to rise out of the lake basin into the highlands our sighs were actually audible. They were not breathed out of lack of contentment or out of regret. They were simply breathed in relief. The air was cooler and fresher as we rose into the rural highlands. The signs were in a very familiar language and in those places we had shared memories (history). We recalled “the first time we were here” and “remember visiting the pastor’s home there?” We laughed over stories of our children chasing the little chicks or being relieved to get out of the vehicle and be able to run free in the gardens as we passed through familiar territory.  We shared meals, laughter, information and togetherness with those we know and love. To know. To be known. History. Relief.

Yesterday we pushed the “pause” button again and returned home. Stepping back into transition, yet understanding with relief we know some of here too. We are known by some. We are creating history. We are learning. There is still so much unknown, so much we do not know. But we are in transition and change is happening. And in that knowing there is relief, for which we thank the Lord.

11 February, 2013

Show me for this day . . .


Pretty much every day I petition the Lord like this, “Father, for this day in this month of this year, please show me why you put me here in this house on this plot on this hill in this city in this nation.  I want to do what you want me to and I want to be whom you want me to be. Show me for this day I pray.”

And He does. He lays it out. I learn to make my plans with space for His showing me. At first it seemed like a lot of interruptions in getting stuff done. Now I see it as Him showing me, answering my prayer. Now it can take several days to finally get the two shirts ironed that came out of the laundry the other day. Now I don’t get to the computer very often. I pray with the young lady who has been diagnosed with a heart problem. I counsel a widow wanting parenting advice. I gladly welcome other missionaries stopping by. I delight in hugs from young children running to see Aunt Christine. I edit communications to be sent by others. Every day He shows me.

One day a couple of months ago God showed me that on that day I was to say “Yes” to an opportunity to speak to a women’s group. So that afternoon I said “Yes” when asked if I would travel north to speak at a women’s conference outside of Soroti, Uganda. I said “Yes” when asked if I could travel by public bus to that great distance. I said “Yes” when my dear Ugandan friend, Winnie, and I arrived there and they asked if I was ok sleeping on the floor like the other ladies. I said “Yes” when others wondered if I would use a pit latrine and a bathing room without a ceiling (it had ¾ height walls). I tried to explain that I feel most at home when I am out in the village like that. I did my best to put them all at ease. They soon said I indeed know how to live African.

 Truly, God shows me every day. And then He does what He wants to do. He blessed, encouraged, challenged and changed women (and men) throughout the shared time in the conference. I was challenged and my heart broke over and over again to hear others share their stories, but then joy came as I could see God speak His truth into their situations and hearts changed. He showed me and I was blessed. (see photos of that trip on this page)

One day we received an email about an upcoming workshop for missionary leaders on how to help missionaries during crises. God showed us we should attend. We said ”Yes.” We attended. We listened, wept, questioned, learned and shared. Every day God showed us more of Himself and how He uses His people to care for cross-cultural workers in all their stresses and trauma. God showed us how He uses you to care for us.

You, us, we serve our God together.  Us here and you there all together fulfilling His purpose for His Kingdom in this house on this plot on this hill in this city in this nation. I am so thankful we are together.  I am so grateful He shows us.

Christine (for Jeff too)