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

19 April, 2014

Dawning Realization . . . .

Easter is always very special to me. It is my special “Valentine’s day" with Jesus, Lover of my soul. Over many years Jesus and I have exchanged Easter gifts. Here are some of His gifts to me:
  • 1985, the gift of His resurrection power as I struggled in learning to once again live my daily life in recovery from viral encephalitis; He raised me to once again be able to think and walk and do
  • 1986, the gift of love shared with Jeff Stanfield
  • 1989, the gift of hope evidenced in the birth of our daughter on Easter eve
  • 1991, the gift of faith as we celebrated our first Easter in Africa, at our new home in Tenwek
  • 1996, the gift of the empty tomb at our first Easter with Mom Stanfield in heaven
  • 1998, the gift of comfort in the midst of a terrible malaria epidemic
  • 2009, the gift of joy as I mourned in our first Easter with our daughter far away on another continent
  • 2013, the gift of fellowship through our first Easter in the “strangeness” of learning to live in Uganda

And this year, as Lent was soon to begin, Christ quietly invited me to go into a whole new place with Him. I admit that I was reluctant at first, saying within myself that I hoped I didn’t have to go. I didn’t really want to partake of that particular “cup.” I was willing to let it pass. But the more I listened to Christ, the more I knew He was inviting me to join Him there…and how could I not?

And so it came about that I found this year’s Easter gift from my loving Heavenly Father within the boundaries of a local hospital in Kampala. Within that place I saw some of the best; surgeries that corrected deficiencies, loving care that brought smiles to faces and hope to hearts, resources used in appropriate and timely ways, drugs “curing” illnesses and satisfied clients heading home.

Within that place I saw some of the worst; horrible wounds that will leave inner and outer scars forever, malnourished children crying with hunger, weeping mothers, babies with burn injuries and family members heading home without the loved one they left in the morgue.

I experienced a wide range of emotions throughout my weeks of orientation in the hospital. I enjoyed “doing nursing” again. I felt desperate for God’s intervention. I longed for relief for myself and my clients when the situation was difficult at best. I felt peace in God’s Presence throughout it all. I felt angst when others didn’t seem to sense the urgency for intervention that I did. I felt anxious while trying to get a venous catheter into a child’s vein. I felt profound sorrow as others experienced loss. I felt a sense of pride when I successfully placed the first IV I have inserted in years. I felt overcome with love for my Saviour as I heard the choir singing in the hospital chapel. I felt great joy in seeing the wide smile of a frustrated mother who could not speak a language understood by the staff until she realized I was understanding her Kiswahili.

Through it all I sensed Christ guiding, encouraging and strengthening me. I felt Him nudging me to “look deeper” in each facial expression and each situation. When I felt reluctant in the early morning darkness to return to the unfamiliar for another day, I pictured scenes of Jesus walking the Via Dolorosa and somehow found His courage in me to go on. If He could do that for me, I could do this with Him.

Gradually I became aware, experiencing a dawning realization that my gift from Him is that very “with-ness” of Him. My heart has been longing for more of being with Him since I came to this city. It has been hard learning to live well within the walled and gated, noisy and fast-paced city. I was already in a very new place, but Christ took me to an even more foreign environment to help me find the more familiar...more of Him. The absence of fear gives testimony to His perfect Love. More of Him, of His abiding Presence, His being with me.  Another cherished gift, one that I shall draw from all the days of my life.

Christine