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BACK TO THE BUSH: Timely Words

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Quick action on the part of our trainees kept my tukal from catching fire.

3-5-13

(while alone in my tukal)

 

    I read in my journal today of a time when I was feeling kinda down. It seemed I felt I had missed out on some memory making time with my grandson and because my son was busy with camp things, I hadn’t seen much of him either. Put these two together and I’m sure you can understand the source of my sadness on that day.

   The real problem, however, was with me getting a bit too focused on myself. I would like to be able to write that this was only a temporary problem while I was there; that I succeeded in overcoming them, but I can’t. Oh, I did have moments when I clearly got past myself. Yet, there wasn’t as many of those type of moments as there should have been. 

   And in this instance, as I sat alone in my tukal sadly contemplating the long 5 days I had just gone without being able to connect with my son and longing for more moments to spend with my grandson God gave me a gift.

   My son popped into my tukal just to chat with me! He talked about what an honor it was to have me there and to work alongside with him in ministry. Those timely words delivered by my beloved son were just the balm I needed to lift the sadness from my heart. Just those few words dispelled the gloom and my world was bright again. 

Timely words, delivered by God who loves us more than we can imagine, will always dispel the gloom and make our world bright again.  

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BACK TO THE BUSH: Loneliness isn’t hidden from God. . .

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The fire had crept up to the very edge of our camp.

Bush Camp – February 24, 2013

I was lonely at times during my bush camp adventure!

   That caught me off guard actually (for I’m not one that minds being by myself), but as I mentally revisit those days in my journal, I get why it happened. My main reason for signing on to this adventure in the first place was to store up as many memories as possible while getting to know my brand-new grandson, and reconnecting with my son and daughter in law as I served alongside them in their work. While my husband was still there and we were vacationing with our son and his family, my days were full of opportunities to store up those lovely memories. But once my husband left, and the preparation for bush camp begin, those opportunities became fleeting at best. 

   Part of the problem was that I was the only 65 year old person in the group. I was not accustomed to being the lone ‘old person’. Aside from my family, I didn’t really have much in common with the rest of that youthful crew. Therefore, as we hung out at camp or as we returned to base camp to recoup, individuals tended to gravitate towards those with which they had most in common. And ever so often I found myself alone feeling a bit out of place. 

   Those moments usually occurred when something I was hoping would happen didn’t! Oh, I had my pity parties but thankfully they didn’t last very long. For, I had plenty of journal writing to catch up on, good books to absorb, fun videos to watch and a nap was always welcomed. 

   Time spent by oneself can always be profitable, especially, if you are aware that your longings and sighings are not hidden from the One who loves and cares for you the most and who is your constant companion. The following explains why loneliness has little chance to overwhelm a child of God.

O Lord, all my longing is before you; my sighing is not hidden from you. Psalm 38:9 

 

 

BACK TO THE BUSH: The Healing Power of Thankfulness

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Bush Camp, Home of some rather extraordinary memories!

Bush Camp, Home of some rather extraordinary memories!

BUSH CAMP – February 23, 2013

Something from my journal on this date:

Self-pity (the kind I experienced while living at bush camp) is referred to in Jesus Calling as a pit or demonic trap. The author’s advice on staying away from the pit is to stay close to Jesus as you praise and thank Him.

   When I wrote this paragraph in my journal, my mind was recalling the discouragement that almost overwhelmed me during my bout of illness shortly after arriving at bush camp. (Sickness, 9/26/2013). I hovered around that pit of self-pity almost daily. There would be moments when I felt the pull of the pit lessened, especially after an uplifting conversation with my son, reading something encouraging from Jesus Calling or my Bible, or having the Holy Spirit remind me of a precious promise from God. But in spite of all that, I struggled with self-pity, in my opinion, way too long.

Another journal moment:

I realize (from that experience) that sickness is the greatest of discouragements. It was so hard to pull myself out of the pit as long as I felt so sick. Ever been there? 

The following scriptures,

1 Thessalonians 5:18  KJV in every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

Philippines 4:6-7 NIV
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

offered the BEST of advice on how to handle difficult situations, but being physically ill had drained me of my ability to maintain an attitude of thankfulness when I went to God in prayer. I am sorry to say that most of my prayers during, those days of a challenging sickness, were me having a pity party and complaining to God.

   And I am sure that it comes as no surprise that I endured, on top of my physical illness, major fiery dart (http://fierydarts.wordpress.com) attacks because I wasn’t able to be the obedient Christian that I should be and thank God in the face of my difficulties. That’s condemnation, folks, not conviction.

   Fortunately, I knew the difference (thanks to the book God had me write about that, Fiery Darts: Satan’s Weapon of Choice) and as I persisted in prayer, I became more cooperative with God as He continued working on His plans for me in that situation.

   You know, I would love to be able to tell you that I gloriously, and speedily rose above the self-pity and discouragement brought on by my illness, but I can’t really say that. However,  as I prayed and read my Bible and as I listened to others share about God in their lives, I found myself focusing on God more and less on my suffering. Eventually, my discouragement and self pity gave way to the healing power of thankfulness. 

BACK TO THE BUSH: Unconventional Prayers!

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Airport? Yep, dirt runway and 1 plane!

Airport in the Bush: No buildings, dirt runway, one plane!

     Living in the bush is nothing, and I mean nothing, like the life I live here at home. I want you to think of going to the airport to pick up someone. Images such as driving down a smooth highway in rather heavy traffic, making a mad dash to the airport so you get there before the plane lands, pulling into the airport with planes taking off and landing overhead, air traffic control towers positioned strategically near the asphalt covered runways, or entering the multi-leveled terminals perhaps come to mind. Now, discard almost every one of them. 

February 22,2013

     On this particular morning, I was given the opportunity to ride with my son to the airstrip (notice I didn’t say airport) to pick up a couple from their mission organization, who were making a routine visit to see how well the missionaries in their charge were faring. 

     By the time it was decided that my son and I were to leave it was 8:52 a.m. and this couple was to arrive at 9:30. It typically took a minimum of 45 minutes to make such a trip.  You do the math! This was the familiar part of the experience–making a mad dash to the airport to arrive before the plane landed! 

    We needed to navigate the route as quickly as possible and for a very good reason–if the plane arrived before we did this dear couple would have to wait for us. Not a good idea!  For you see, unlike our airports, there were NO buildings where they could wait. It would be a matter of standing out in the open, on this lonely little strip of dirt!

    At the outset of the trip, I began praying. Roads there are pitted with holes of all depths and sizes, so my son’s daunting task was to dodge these potholes as speedily as possible.  My task was to keep my eyes glued to the road and warn him of the potholes and bumps ahead. 

     At one point, I failed to warn my son in time about a dip in the road ahead (we were in rather a hurry, you see) and the land rover went airborne. You know, I had always wondered what it might have been like for those Duke boys when the General Lee catapulted into the air! Well, now I knew!

     And just as we turned onto the road that led to the airstrip, my son saw the plane high up in the sky just beginning to make its descent. We high 5’d each other and shouted with relief! (Just like the Duke boys!) I thanked God (for the sake of the couple we were meeting) for understanding and mercifully seeing fit to  answer the rather unconventional prayers this not so typical mom of a missionary had been praying!

BACK TO THE BUSH: Making Memories?

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February 19, 2013

It was time for the staff to recoup and return to base camp.

     Something that I had come to associate with delicious and expanded recipes, sleeping on a comfortable bed with the luxury of having the bathroom a few steps from that bed, living quarters inside a ‘real’ house protected from the elements, and a warm shower. I can rough it with the best of them, but having this break to return to a life more akin to what I’ve become accustomed to–we’ll for me it was restorative!

     On the way back, we had to stop at the open market in town.(You know, time to go to the grocery store!) An experience that put me in touch with my country roots for it reminded me in many ways of the farmer’s markets back home. There were the familiar red tomatoes, potatoes, corn, rice & beans, pineapples, bananas, etc. I was fascinated with my daughter in law’s skillful ease with which she moved through the market making her selections and hashing over the prices with the vendors with sensitivity and fairness. 

    However, in the short time I lived there I never reconciled myself with the cultural phenomena of our truck being swarmed by a legion of curious onlookers during these market experiences or each and every time we entered town and brought the truck to a stop.  I remember one time when our truck was swarmed by so many curious observers that we felt movement as they began pushing in to see inside the truck. An adult male came to our rescue; shouting and waving his arms commanding them to back off. Finally, we were able to ease pass them and I breathed a huge sigh of relief. 

     I realized that my son and daughter in law have come to see this life as “home”. Slowly but surely these sights and sounds that to me (and to them at first, I imagine) were strange and unfamiliar were eventually being transformed into the familiar and were becoming the stuff of memories for them. My son’s children’s ‘growing up memories’ will look nothing like their cousin’s and there won’t be those familiar memories that will bond and unite them as family.  

     Nevertheless, we will pray for God to guide us as to how we can find ways to bond and be united as a family living on different continents and within a vastly different culture. I am confident He has a plan and we will be trusting Him to reveal it to us.

 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

 

 Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths

Proverbs 3:5-6 (NKJV)

Back to the Bush: Happy Birthday!

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Our birthday boy with his dad.

Our birthday boy with his dad.

2-20-13

     While living in the bush, one of our trainee’s children celebrated his 8th birthday. Here we were out in the middle of nowhere! I was really curious about how this celebration would turn out and how it would compare to his birthdays in America! I am sure this young man also wondered what kind of birthday, if any, he would have living in the bush. As it turned out this young man did celebrate his birthday and while basic in its celebration, it couldn’t have been more unique!

   

Our birthday boy's younger brother devouring the chocolate birthday cake.

Our birthday boy’s younger brother devouring the chocolate birthday cake.

   Back at base camp one of the trainees had baked a chocolate cake with chocolate icing and a coke cake with buttercream icing and brought it as a surprise. My young friend was the most popular person in camp. Everything centered around him that afternoon. 

 

 

camp chameleon

camp chameleon

   My son had just returned from running an errand and on the way back to bush camp he saw a chameleon on the road. Guess what the birthday boy got for a gift that day!

   The chameleon was exotically beautiful. At first he was kept in a box, but that just seemed too restraining for a creature who previously had run of the African Savannah. The cactus tree in the center of camp seemed much more accommodating, so that became its new home. 

 

 

  According to the birthday boys wishes, we had two types of chicken soup (one with noodles, compliments of a local store near base camp, and one with rice!) I might add both were delicious, and I’m not kidding. Do you suppose it was so yummy because it wasn’t beans and rice? No, take my word for it, those trainees had mastered the art of cooking from scratch over a charcoal fire! The birthday boy was glorying in all the expressions of love, good tasting food, birthday presents, and attention. Any American kid would have envied him, I think!

     While this young man’s birthday may not have been typical in American terms, it contained all the necessary ingredients in making it memorable. He was surrounded by his loving parents and siblings, a host of grown up friends and young friends; presents, good food, and lots and lots of love. You think he might grow up and remember his bush birthday as one of his most memorable? Yep, bet he does!

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