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12 September, 2013

A Skink in the Sink…and other Startling Discoveries

The committee meeting was going well and we had many things to ponder as we looked for the way forward in the myriad of ministry opportunities available. I excused myself so I could “go to the small room to help myself” (Kenyan lingo to go use the restroom). After helping myself I stepped up to the first sink to wash my hands, only to be startled by a skink in the sink. A skink is a lizard-like creature and this one moved its head quickly as I reached for the water, causing me to startle and quickly jerk my hand back to my side as I stepped sideways toward the next sink. A perfectly harmless creature but I was not expecting one to be in the sink! Those skinks are usually seen on a sidewalk or a wall where they can be noticed from a distance and I don’t startle. Not so this time. The skink in the sink was a startling discovery!

For some time after that startling encounter I pondered other recent startling discoveries:

1) I was startled to realize anew that I don’t always communicate as clearly as I intend. A perfect example was this conversation during my recent bus trip into Kenya:
Me: Driver, remember we want to alight from this bus in Kapsoit town please.
Driver: Yes.  Kapsoit is about 15 minutes ahead.
Me: Yes, thank you. We want to stop and get off the bus there in Kapsoit.
Driver: Yes.  
…Entering Kapsoit town…
Me: This is Kapsoit, where we are to alight.
Driver: Yes.
…Bus exiting Kapsoit town…
Me: Are you stopping for us to get off the bus?
Driver: Here? You want to get off here?
Me: Yes, please, we wanted to get off in Kapsoit town.
Driver: We don’t have a bus stage (stop) here.
Me: But this is where we are to alight and meet our people.
Driver: You mean to get off here? Do you know if it is ok for you?
Me: Yes, I am very much at home here and we are to get off here.
Driver: (quickly stopping bus on road side) Are you very sure?
Me: Yes, that was Kapsoit town where we were to alight. We will get off here and walk back.
Driver: Yes.  (Bus stopped and we got off.  We were just fine and met our hostess and off we went to the conference.)

2)  I was startled by the depth of my response while joining nearly 300 Kenyan (and 2 Ugandan) women singing the hymn “How Great Thou Art” in Kiswhalili.  Raising our voices together in praise. Raising our hands in worship of our Father. Noticing tears falling as my heart swelled with thanksgiving and joy. What an honor. What a great, great privilege to sing these time-honored words with ladies whom I know have suffered much. What profound joy to sing in worship with those dear ladies who love the Lord Jesus with all their hearts. I don’t know how to describe it…but I was startled to discover the depth of my love for those dear women.

3)  I was startled all over again to discover anew how powerful God’s word is. Testimony was given in the orality training session (see www.sts.org  to read more about this) that in a different training several Muslim men confessed their sin and received Jesus as their Savior after hearing and discussing the Bible story found in Exodus 17:1-7. In the story the people of Israel are very thirsty because God commanded them to camp at a place with no water. After the people persistently cried to Moses, Moses cried to God and God told Moses how to get water. It was a miracle for sure. And those Muslim men were so struck that God had compassion on the people and gave what they needed that they denied their faith in Islam and turned to follow the God of Truth. Wow! I would never have picked that particular story to lead people to a saving faith in Jesus Christ, but God did. Wow!

4)  I was startled to get a call from Jeff during his routine medical check last week saying the doctor detected a new heart murmur and Jeff was going for an echocardiogram. I was even more startled when the echo. revealed that Jeff’s aortic valve in his heart is not working properly. We were pretty shocked.  Even though my “nurse brain” could acknowledge that right now this is not any big problem the rest of my brain zipped on ahead to all the potential complications later on down the road.  And yet….

5)  What a startling discovery to realize that just the evening before God spoke powerfully to me through the “Storm Story” in His word; the story where Jesus invited His disciples to cross the sea with him after a very busy day of teaching. So they headed out in a boat into the darkness crossing the sea. A violent storm arose and threatened their lives. Jesus calmed the storm. Reviewing that story God reminded me that He had also invited us to join Him in the dark, crossing into the unknown as we moved into Uganda. God reminded me He is in control of everything, even in the dark even when we can’t seem to find our way. God reminded me that He always responds to whatever small measure of faith I use to call out to Him. He is always there for us.

A skink in the sink, and so many other startling discoveries, all lead me back to Truth, back to reality that no matter what storms arise, no matter what blessings or difficulties we encounter, God is in control. And for that I shall forever be eternally grateful!