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Our first send off!

   Getting use to (all over again) staying in contact via electronic media with my son and his family. With all that got thrown at me over the summer, I am beyond grateful that this was not the first send off for my son & his crew. I imagine it would have been overload for me.(But I’m pretty sure God knew that!)

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Our unwelcomed visitor made a fatal decision the day it decided to crawl around the ceiling of our school room!

   At present they are caught up in a big training. However, it’s not taking place in the bush (remember those posts of my time in the bush during one of those trainings????? See above picture!) this time. This time the training is taking place in the village where the team’s basecamp is located. Not nearly as rustic and creature comfort deprived. 

Home Sweet Home!

   I share this because as I hear about their training, I can visualize them in their surroundings. I visited there in 2013 and became familiar with the surrounding physical features and quite a few of the locals. Especially the people they worked and lived with.

  God has been faithful to make it possible for me to make visits to where my children are. Years ago I prayed a prayer of release for my children to serve Him wherever He called them. I asked God to make it possible for me to visit them, if that led them far away. And He has done just that! 

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   Financially, it would have been impossible for me to have come up with the finances for these many trips I’ve been able to make to be with my children. (Just returned from a visit with my daughter in San Antonio). Yet God made it happen!

   If your children wind up living quite a distance from you, I hope you will pray about visiting them. The memories made will sustain you when you are apart. For some of you, this will be a matter of traveling for a few hours here in the good ole USA; for others it will require an expensive airline ticket. Either way, it can present  a crisis of faith. The fiery darts of doubt attack and undermine our faith at times like these. But remember,  you have made a great sacrifice in releasing your children to God. Be assured He desires to bless you abundantly for your obedience. 

 And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 2 Corinthians 9:8

So, just ask God and (oh yeah, make sure you have a passport ready if your travel demands)

Together & Overwhelmed!

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DREAMLAND!
Who wouldn’t want to spend a week in such a place as this dreamy little cottage in Scotland!

   Back in August, my husband and I joined our son and his family in Scotland. It was the first time we had seen our 5 month old grandson in person and our 2 1/2 year old grandson we had only seen shortly after he was born. Our son is planning on attending a university there next year and needed to wrap up some details; thus the motivation for this trip.

   So for 2 weeks, we laughed together, ate together, talked (a lot) to each other, played together, absorbed the beauty of Scotland and her people and culture together, and enjoyed quiet moments together! The wonder of all that we enjoyed was that we enjoyed it ‘together’! Such bliss!

   The reality that we were together and living out a lifelong dream of mine to go to Scotland at times was more than my mind could take in!  It was as if I was living in a world of fantasy! I was simply and profoundly ‘overwhelmed’!  

Why do I share this?

   Because, if my son had not walked the path of obedience to God and had we not been willing to release him to that path, then none of what I wrote about just now would have ever taken place.

  Releasing our children to go and do God’s bidding is a challenge to our emotional stability but even more so when that bidding takes them far away from our presence. It wasn’t something I expected to happen and I found within my own strength no resources to handle it.

   Yet, here I am 4 years into this journey and I stand as living proof that there is life after releasing a child to do God’s bidding.

   All of us mom’s (and dad’s) who have taken the journey I have taken  know that it is not something that can be done in one’s own strength. 

 But know this!

   It is doable, and there’s sustaining joy and strength that accompanies the heartbreak of release! And on the other side of those painful moments we have the hope of knowing more joy than we could have ever imagined,

IF we,

look to the LORD and His strength; seek His face always. Ps. 105:4

 

TOGETHERNESS!

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   Next year, my son and his family will be returning home for a few months prior to heading out of country again in order for my son to take graduate courses. But during this year and in about 3 1/2 months my husband and I will be joining up with them for a couple of weeks vacation in that same country. The first few days will be spent taking care of details having to do with registration, etc. The days after that will be all about making memories! 

 

HOW WILL I SPEND MY TIME?

 

   Holding and cuddling my 5 month old grandson for the very first time. Singing songs to him and playing games with him like I did with his daddy. Lending a hand in his care and feeding; allowing him moments to become accustomed to my face and the sound of my voice. 

   Playing with my 2 year old grandson. Reading books to him! Showing him pictures and telling him about his daddy’s family (his cousins, etc) back in the States. Doing as much running around and chasing after him as these grandmother’s physical limitations will allow. Singing him songs I use to sing to his daddy and teaching him some of the words. Learning some of the new songs and games he might want to teach me.

   Taking long leisurely walks with my son; talking about whatever comes to mind. He has ventured out in new directions since I saw him last. I am curious about his take on all of that. 

   Sitting on the side lines and listening to the thoughts and ideas my husband and son will share with each other. (One of my favorite past times when we are all together)

  Enjoying the interaction that transpires between my son, his wife, and their boys. Watching them being a family; filing those moments into my memory banks to keep them close to me after we have to part. 

   Having precious moments to focus on my daughter in law; exchanging thoughts and ideas, sharing the sights and sounds together. Her life’s experiences have expanded as well. I long to hear all about those. 

  Doing some real honest to goodness babysitting, while our son and daughter in law venture out to explore and experience the fascinations of the land we will be visiting. 

  Spending quiet moments absorbing God’s spectacular handiwork; recording in word and pictures all that I’m able so that I can share with those back home. 

  Seeing places with my own eyes, that until then had only been experienced in my dreams.

And all of this in the context of togetherness!

 

 

BACK TO THE BUSH: God’s Provision

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3/2/13  Journal  entry:

   Yesterday while I was here by myself with my grandson a young man named Mo dropped by. He had seen my son earlier in town and arrived here a little ahead of him. I took my grandson and went outside to visit with Mo for awhile.

   He gave me a gift of a multi-colored strand necklace of the colors of his country’s flag. I was deeply touched, telling him I was grateful and would cherish his gift.

   You know how often God will use unbelievers as instruments of His will in our lives? Well, that’s the case with Mo. On numerous occasions he has literally been a God-send to my son and his fellow team mates. He and my son developed a close friendship while my son lived in his village.

   I had heard many tales about Mo and how he just sort of ‘showed up’ when my son or others on the team were facing a challenging situation. It was like he had taken it upon himself to watch out for and protect these strange but very likable Americans! Of course, Mo had no idea that JEHOVAH-JIREH had been  responsible for providing for the needs of his new friends through the friendship Mo extended to them! 

   I had longed to meet Mo, for I wanted to see with my own eyes the man who had been such a source of help and encouragement to my son and his friends. It was a privilege to finally be able to express my thanks to him in person.

   To meet this man warmed my heart. He was physical proof that God indeed was supplying the needs of my son and his family as they served Him in this unfamiliar and foreign land.

And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19 ESV

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: A day in the life of this unlikely missionary!

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Our humble classroom!

Our humble classroom!

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     My teacher partner and I were told that by 2 pm we would be leaving bush camp for home base.  We welcomed this news for it had proven to be a tiring day.  The wind was blustery; blowing dirt and grit with vigor.  We had attached blankets to some of the openings, trying to cut down on the wind. Rocks had to be laid on the student’s papers to keep them from blowing away. I am sure you can understand why my teaching partner and I were counting down the minutes till 2 pm.

     But 2 pm came and went along with our enthusiasm! Finally, around 4:45 pm we were given the all clear and were headed for home (remember, in this setting that is base camp).  One of the first things I did was to accept the gentlemanly efforts of my son to heat some water over the gas cooker. This would then be poured into the a bucket of cool water that would then be poured into a bucket that hung on a pulley in the shower which acted as a, you guessed it, a shower! Listen, when the grit is embedded into your clothes, your hair, and under your fingernails and your feet are so dirty you can’t tell if you are native or not, you would be willing to make whatever effort is necessary to undo the realities of bush living.   After I hoisted the bucket up above my head, by means of the pulley,tied it off and pulled on the chain so the water could come out of the shower attachment connected to the bucket, I felt as close to godliness as I had for several days. (cleanliness = godliness:)

 

 

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The shower stall itself was what I was accustomed to. The means by which the water flowed was rustic but it got the job done and I was grateful!

 

 

     My missionary gals fixed a supper that would put any home cooking restaurant to shame. And the homemade guacamole dip! Well, until that moment, I was under the impression that I didn’t care for such. NOT ANY MORE!

     After an ultra fine supper and sweet fellowship, I laid my clean body on the cozy comfortable bed, with the  bathroom comfortably nearby and drifted off to a pleasant sleep that lasted all night long.  Ah h h h!

Back to the Bush: Expanding Friendships!

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Living in Africa!

Living in Africa! Now this is a tukal I could get use to!

       Since my son and daughter in law’s move to Africa, their expanding horizons has had an affect on expanding my horizons too.  After their transition from here to there, they met a missionary couple living about an hour’s drive from their home.  Their friendship formed quickly as the husband of the couple was a linguist  as is my son. They are with a different missionary organization and several months after meeting each other, this couple came back to the States for 6 months.  While they were on furlough, my husband and I had the privilege of a visit from them in our home.

     With that brief history we shared, meeting up with them again during my stay in Africa was like a family reunion. Family-like ties grow quickly in this environment. Making memories with family get to gathers are now no longer possible, therefore it becomes imperative to adopt new family asap so that those memory making opportunities continue. 

     While I was at bush camp this couple joined in the training. The wife, who is a nurse, was invited to provide medical training, and the husband, who is a linguist, offered much needed advice on culture and language learning.  After they completed their classes they were to travel to their home to move back in.

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This view trumps my concern over any spiders I encountered.

      It was our great joy to meet them there later to assist in the reopening of their home. I swept and dusted just like I did back home, that wasn’t anything new. However, some of the critters I came across in my efforts proved to be a fresh and new experience.  I wondered if these African spiders might be more formidable than ours back home. However, I was assured that quick action on my part with a spider killing spray would allay any latent anxiety on my part. Nevertheless, I was considerably relieved when that part of the cleaning process was completed!

     You know that verse in the Bible that speaks of God supplying all our needs?  Well, I saw that in action as I witnessed how God sent my son and daughter in law to be the new friends this precious couple had been praying about for two years. They lived a rather isolated life there and they needed people they had things in common with, that they could relate to, and with whom they could share their life and work.

     Not only did God meet the need for friendships for all couples concerned, the kingdom’s work was expanded due to their combined efforts. God always comes through for His kids!

 

Philippians 4:19King James Version (KJV)

19 But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

 

 

 

Safari!!!!!!

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Shortly before my husband returned to the States, our son planned an event for us that exceeded all my expectations.  I had read about people doing such things but never dreamed I would ever have the opportunity myself!  So what was it?

Yep, a Safari!

But don’t get any crazy ideas that we marched single file through the jungle while the natives sang (I know, been watching too many Tarzan movies)with a tight grip upon our big ole elephant guns.  Nope, fortunately those days are gone (at least I hope they are) for this was a photo safari.  We just gazed in wonder at these grand animals grazing peacefully without the restraint of metal bars and tiny habitats. It stirred something deep within me to see these animals living in freedom.

There were several of these majestic creatures, all ages.

There were several of these majestic creatures, all ages.

Grace in motion.  Saw 3 of these giraffes.

Grace in motion. Saw 3 of these giraffes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Game park tukals.

Game park tukals.

 

Above is a picture of the dwellings we stayed in at the game park (we stayed overnight).  These tukals were unique because unlike the tukals I had seen and would be living in a few weeks from this time, it had an attached bathroom.  NICE!

 

Our guide spotting elephant herds.

Our guide spotting elephant herds.

Let me back up a minute.  You will be amused, I think to know how our excursion to the game park began.

“You might have laughed at us when we pulled out for not only were the 5 of us Lanes in the truck, we also had 4 men in the back + a goat.  One man was dropped off in a town where he was going to buy some sorghum and tomorrow we will pick him up.  The other guy and goat rode almost all the way to the park.  We dropped them off right as we turned onto the road to the entrance.  The goat rode well, and we did too as long as we kept the windows down!” journal entry 1-10-13

Oh well, when you don’t possess a vehicle you just wait around long enough and someone who has a vehicle will be going where you want to go and you simply hitch a ride (animal/s included).  It’s the way of life there.

After getting to the park, we unpacked our vehicle, loaded our stuff into the tukals, and set off for our (mine and my husbands first) safari.  All I kept saying was “Wow”, for I just couldn’t get over the fact that these zoo animals were roaming around free as a bird.  No cages, no glass walls between us, no zookeepers tending to them, and most impressive to me, unrestricted room to spread out.

Off we go, with the best view in the house, or game reserve!

Off we go, with the best view in the house, or game reserve!

Our evening at the game park was indescribable.  Peaceful beyond description.  After helping my daughter-in-law prepare supper (I’m from the south and that’s what we call it) of super delicious chili, we sat around a fire and visited.

The elders, one American and one African.

The elders, one American and one African.

Great day, tasty supper, sweet fellowship.

Great day, tasty supper, sweet fellowship.

The next day we enjoyed our 2nd safari and saw more cape buffalo, hardy beast, water buck, tiny antelope animals, warthogs, zebras, giraffes, elephants, and there were more just can’t remember their names.  But I’m disappointed to write, we never saw lions.  But that wasn’t from want of trying.  I suppose I’ll have to hope for better luck next time.  And God willing, I’m definitely looking forward to a next time.

 * * * * * * *

God has poured His grace upon me in a variety of ways to make learning how to live so far apart from my son a doable thing for me.  This being a missionary’s mom is certainly a difficult life to live.  So hard, in fact that I couldn’t pull this off without God.  For it is His strength that equips me to make it through these days I now live as a missionary’s mom.

But having the memories of our visit to where my son now lives, goes a long way to keeping my spirits up and my focus on God.  By being there, I saw with my own eyes how contended and at peace with life my son is.  Knowing that my son is loving his life there is all I need to be okay with him being so far away.

 

 

 

Being Anxious=Crossing Bridges Before You Get to Them!

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My son and daughter-in-law are back in the capital and we are communicating online again.  About every 6 weeks they make this 2-day journey so between those times we get to talk on our cell phones (which works sometimes and sometimes it doesn’t).  I was especially excited b/c their post on the family blog was enhanced by pictures of my beautiful daughter-in-law’s ever expanding baby bump.  My son’s smile in those pictures communicates a new dad who is eager to take on the daddy role!  My daughter-in-law is glowing.  She surely seems to have a grasp of the wonder of becoming a mother.

My days are now filled with the anticipation of my new grandson’s birth and eventually getting on that plane to travel 27 hours so I can hold him in my arms.  Lots of details to work out  b/c we still have to apply for visa’s, get shots, and gather all the Christmas stuff we want to take plus goodies for our grandson and his parents.  (Not sure how much room we will have to take personal items for ourselves! Oh well,)  Daily I pray for God’s help in working out all those details and that we would not overlook any important ones.

Sometimes I feel that I have no idea of how it’s going to be for my husband and I to make this trip, spend glorious time with our loved ones, then have to eventually return home.  I anticipate (more like dread) that parting time.  But I’m learning that trying to cross a bridge before you get to it is pretty foolish.  Not only that, but it spoils the time we have to enjoy in preparing for our journey at present.  But God, understanding the temptation I would have in worrying about tomorrow, gives me the following verses:

“So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will take care of itself.”  Matthew 6:34 (NIV)

So how do I not worry about tomorrow?  Please read the following:

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

Therefore, between now and then, I will do my best at focusing on and being obedient to what God has called me; trusting Him to take care of the future and depending on Him to help me cross those bridges when (and only when) I get to them.

I say to myself–

Okay, Janet, take a deep breath, relax, and keep your focus!  God has always been faithful in your past; He will continue to be faithful in your present, and your future as well.  With God’s help, I can do this thing!

So to anyone preparing or hoping to make a journey to visit your loved ones on their mission field, I think the best advice would be to focus on the above verses.  He really has the hard part, doesn’t He?  But after all, He’s God; I think he can handle this one:)

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