Home

Sweetness in the sacrifices

1 Comment

IMG_1977   

   I have 10 grandchildren. Eight of them live here in the States. Two of them live out of country. Recently, I was able to gather, from 3 different states, my stateside grandchildren (ages 6 to 13)  for what we have come to call “Nammy Camp.” It’s a time of good old fashioned fun; like swimming in Nammy’s above ground pool, gathering the extended family for a cook out, eating meals outside on Nammy’s picnic table, riding Great Grandma’s Kawasaki Mule vehicle, exploring the woods, taking walks, having a water balloon fight, cooking delicious cakes and brownies, playing chess, rising early to see the sunrise, chasing fireflies at twilight. Basically, spending a lot of fun time using the ole imagination! Missing my two youngest grandchildren the whole time. 

roscoe and shep

   But it’s important to keep it all in perspective. We knew when my son and daughter in law left for Africa life would change. Our son and his family left their stateside family to share the good news about Jesus to people who hadn’t been reached before. In order for them to do that, sacrifices had to be made. 

   Sacrifices like making memories without all the grandchildren present. I won’t sugar coat it and say, “Oh, it’s not so bad!” But honestly, it is. But I’m wise to the fiery darts of negative thinking that would have me focus on my losses. God’s grace and mercy enable me to direct my focus on what I am gaining. Like the blessings of grandchildren no matter where they are. The benefits enjoyed by those who get to hear about Jesus because we all were willing to make the sacrifices. Filling up my mind with these beautiful thoughts, leave little room for negativity. 

   It’s a discipline that I have to practice consistently. But when I do, life is sweeter for the effort. 

Advertisements

Wrapping up one adventure; preparing for another one!

1 Comment

Grandaddy w/Shep

Grandaddy w/grandchild #9

   When our 9th grandson was born, my husband and I were blessed to be able to travel to where he was born. Then after about 2 weeks, my husband left for home and I remained in order to work with the staff children during a training session in the bush.

Sweet Togetherness!

Sweet Togetherness!

 

 

   On July 5th I wrapped up my ‘back to the bush’ posts about that great adventure entitled, ‘My final adventure-flying home!’  

 

 

The land of my dreams.

The land of my dreams.

   And just in time too. For in August, my husband and I will be meeting our son and his family in Scotland.

Why Scotland you may ask?

  Well, it just so happens that next year our son will be studying at the University of Edinburg working on his master’s in linguistics. Therefore, they will be taking care of the details involved in finding a place to live, etc. They will take some of their vacation time to accomplish this.

Now here’s where we get involved!

Our grandson (grandchild number 10) was born back in March. We were not able to travel to visit with him after he was born like we were able to do for his big brother. Therefore, we planned this trip to meet them in Scotland. Not only will we have the delight of seeing our new grandson for the very first time, but we will also get to see his 2 1/2 year old big brother, our son, and our daughter in law.  I have dreamed of traveling to Scotland for years and now thanks to my son’s need to study at the University of Edinburgh, my dream is coming true.

   Now, there’s a verse in Luke 6:38 that pretty much describes how I feel about embarking upon this new adventure:

“Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure–pressed down, shaken together, and running over.

Yep, in about 25 days my husband and mine’s blessing register will go off the scale. 

BIRTHDAY HUGS AND KISSES ACROSS THE MILES. . .

3 Comments

Happy Birthday my little man!
Happy Birthday my little man!

My grandson turns two today.

My trial in all this is not being able to be with him on this happy day.

 My blessing is that I got to video chat with him this morning,

  and without being prompted he called me by my grandmother’s name. We gave each other hugs and kisses, played peek a boo, and he even tried to feed me some of the cereal he was eating–all thanks to this wonderful invention called Facetime!

   All along I have prayed that God would make up for the distance between us by blessing our relationship with a closeness that would transcend the distance. Happy moments like we enjoyed today, inspire me to believe that is indeed God’s plan!

   So I will resist, by God’s grace, the temptation (fiery dart*) to feel sorry for myself at being so far away from my little guy on his birthday!

(What good would that do anyway? It’s a fiery dart meant to make me miserable and create a burden for my son and his family. Nope, that’s just not going to happen!).

   Instead, I will reject such thoughts and replace it with the ‘Truth thought’ of rejoicing that his parents love God and are willing to be obedient to His call upon their lives and make the most of every bit of communication that God blesses us with.

My heart is full of joy and there’s simply no room for anything else! 

*For more on fiery darts check out my blog:

http://fierydarts.wordpress.com

or my book entitled:

Fiery Darts: Satan’s Weapon of Choice.

You can order it from my fiery dart blog. Blessings!

BACK TO THE BUSH: Making Memories?

Leave a comment

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)

It’s a matter of obedience!

8 Comments

Me & my boy! It's a mom thing!

Me & my boy! It’s a mom thing!

     I don’t know if you have noticed or not  that while my blog never plays down the struggles of living so-o-o-o far apart from my child, I always make it clear that God’s love, grace, and mercy champions me in those struggles.  Since releasing my son to the call of missions on his life, joy and peace have been my constant companions and have made what would have been an impossibility in my own strength a glorious possibility in His. (I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13)

     I write this blog to encourage other parents who find themselves on a journey such as mine. I want to assure you that releasing your child to missions or whatever God has called them to is not something to fear. (Remember, the safest place on earth is in the center of God’s will!)

     Recently, a grandmother of a brand-new missionary shared with me that she had expressed to  her grandchild her heartfelt wish that she wasn’t going so far away. Her missionary grandchild responded with, “Granma, would you want me to disobey God so I could be near you?”  That grandmother began to understand with greater clarity the priority of obedience. 

     My dear parent, releasing your child to do the work God has called them to is hard, I know! But the pain of releasing your child should not be your focus. Instead, the obedience to release your child should be.  As you obediently release your child, God’s grace, peace, and mercy will wash over you as a soothing balm. Your heart will be comforted; joy and peace will be your constant companions as you make this journey. It’s a blessed life and you will be just as grateful as I am to be living it!

6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

The Naming Ceremony

Leave a comment

Naming Ceremony!

Naming Ceremony!

 

Shortly after arriving in the village (January) where my son and his family lived, the elders began preparing for the naming ceremony.  The rice and beans were sorted (had to make sure no tiny stones or grit was present).

We understood the honor that was being bestowed upon my little grandson, and we were deeply touched. For my son and his team, it meant acceptance and that’s everything when your heart’s desire is for these people to understand who Jesus is.

Many words were spoken that I did not understand but when my son stood up and spoke using the language of the people, I knew that he was expressing gratitude and respect for the people who had allowed  his family and his team to come among them and be accepted by them.

Choosing the bull!

Choosing the bull!

 

 

Wow, what a day!  I videoed most of the ceremony.  It was a day long event.  The bull was brought up and killed.  Bobby drove in the first spear.  He went down 4 times before he finally gave it up.  I videoed all that but when the skinning and cutting started, I opted to close down my video camera.

During the naming ceremony, my son and a couple of the elders gave a short speech. Of course, I didn’t understand any of what was spoken but I was deeply impressed with my son’s speech for he spoke using the local language.  I have to admit  my eyes clouded up as I watched this ceremony unfold.

The next part was the women’s charge.  For some reason the women rubbed butter all over the exposed parts of their body, and gave my daughter-in-law some bracelets and a necklace.  I later learned the significance of the butter was to assist my grandson’s in accepting his name.  In English his name means Hunger, and White with very Small Spots.  The first name had to do with the time (dry season and little food available) and the 2nd name described the bull that was sacrificed.

Next the meat was cooked along with the rice, beans, and a tasteless concoction made from corn meal called posho.  They stood in a long line waiting their turn to eat.  First the elders, then the women, lastly the children.  The comment was made that even the children would eat today.  Each brought a container be it a plastic pitcher, plastic bag, or tin can.  However, the elders got to eat out of the plastic bowls in my daughter-in-law’s kitchen. I suppose that sometimes the food runs out before the children get to eat.  But not this day, for there was plenty.

DSC_0352

 

 

Once the ceremony was complete the fun part of the celebration began.  All gathered in the open area in front of the compound.  Even though there were no musical instrument, the blending of the people’s voices made for a very energetic and happy type of sound.  Of course, that familiar African trill (seemingly only done by the women) could easily be heard.  And to the beat and energy of the voices, the people added their characteristic jumping.  And believe me, they seem to defy gravity when it comes to how high they can jump. ( I regret I don’t have a better picture.)

 

Let the dancing begin!

Let the dancing begin!

 

I learned a lot about the importance of accepting and showing respect for one’s culture that day of the naming ceremony.  These people have pretty much been rejected by outsiders, like us and even their own countrymen. But when my son and his team entered that village one day bringing their families with them, establishing their homes among them, and set about learning their language and culture (so they could better communicate and understand them), these people slowly began letting down their guard.  As the trust level was built, and genuine honor and respect was displayed for the locals, then they became open to hearing about the God that these white men and women wanted to tell them about.

As the parent of a missionary knowing that your child’s obedience ‘to go’ and your responsibility ‘to release your child’ is responsible for expanding God’s kingdom to a people many have rejected offers the solace that’s needed when these sacrifices are made.

When I begin struggling with the separation anxiety of being so far away from my son, daughter-in-law, and grandson, I have discovered time and time again that if I focus on Jesus and the work my precious ones are doing in His name, my peace returns.  Here’s a few of the verses that sustain me.

This will not overwhelm me.

“Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. Lam. 3:22-23  

If I keep my focus, I’ll know peace.

“You will keep the mind that is dependent on You in perfect peace, for it is trusting in you.” Isaiah 26:3

Filling my mind with happy thoughts trumps the negative thoughts.

“Finally, brothers and sisters whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.”  Philippines 4:8

There are many more verses that God has used to strengthen me and offer me comfort as I make this life journey with my son.  And because God has been so faithful to daily give me what I need for this journey, I have found that I do get overwhelmed!

Sometimes, when I think of the glory God is receiving as His kingdom is being expanded through the efforts of the team my son serves with, then, yes, I can get a bit overwhelmed.  And that’s a joy that no words can express.

 

 

A Most Unlikely Missionary!

2 Comments

I have endured and I have returned.  My experiences exceeded my expectations.  While I in no way could include a full description of all that I learned and encountered (and continue to learn as I process it all) in one post, it will be my intention to share those encounters as God leads via this blog.  I will follow God’s lead and see what transpires.

The reason I came to Africa!

The reason I came to Africa!

The caption reads true!

I cannot claim to have had lofty ideas about traveling to the dark continent of Africa in order to fulfill a burning desire to bring light to a world overcome with darkness.  (If that was my motivation then I could have stayed put.  We have enough overwhelming darkness right here in America!)

Sorry to disappoint you, but I went to Africa to fulfill a burning desire to hold and spend time with my newborn 9th grandchild (1st child of my only son).  Plain and simple!

But true to His nature, God had plans for this grandmother that would go beyond what I could have ever imagined.  Plans that would set me on a new direction and add a new dimension to my service to Him.  And He would accomplish this by setting in motion 43 years earlier, His plan to call out a young lady of 21 years to completely surrender her life to Him.

My husband has faithfully served the LORD for the past 33 years as a minister of the Gospel.  And like my husband I sought God as to what His call on my life would be and all I could come up with was ‘full time Christian service’.  God wouldn’t be more specific than that and I confess that was a bit frustrating.  For I wanted to know specifics!

But as the years passed and God began unfolding His plan, I discovered that I was to walk as I was given light.  When I gave birth to our first child I was overwhelmed by the full force of the love God had planted in my heart for her.  Then 3 children (2 more daughters and a son) later I found myself happily and totally devoted to the call of motherhood.  I found God leading me to do a variety of things which had at their source the singular call to motherhood.

Yes, I taught school for 15 years, but I went into teaching because it would allow me to be in the same school where my children were already attending.  It would afford me more opportunities to minister to my own children.

As you can see the calling of God on my life is navigated in large part according to the direction God is leading my children.  Therefore, when my 9th grandchild entered this world in the far off land of Africa, would there be any question as to whether or not Nammy would be preparing her traveling bags?  I don’t think so!  Actually, there was this question–When and for how long would I stay?

It has been my experience with God that He has a definite sense of humor.  I obtained an airline ticket last August to spend 2 1/2 months with my son and his family, in particular to spend time and make memories with my brand-new grandson.  When I got to Africa in December, I discovered that I would be teaching the children of a group of missionaries who would be in training out at a location in the bush.  My son, daughter-in-law, and grandson would also be living at the bush camp, so while I would be near them, I would not be exclusively with them.  This came as a shock to me.  (Notice I wrote shock and not surprise. I was in shock folks that’s a lot more intense than being surprised)!  I was not a happy camper.  The following days were intense and I will attempt to begin sharing the details with you in my next post.

So, let me pause here and bring this post to a stopping place.  I will pick up next time with what transpired thereafter.  (It ain’t pretty!)

See ya soon,

Snake in the Schoolhouse!

Snake in the Schoolhouse!

%d bloggers like this: