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For I know the plans I have for you!

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   I think one of the most difficult things missionary families have to deal with is separation anxiety and the fact that our day to day lives are lived separately. Not only do we miss out on special event celebrations, but we miss out on those spontaneous moments that make up the bulk of our memories as a family. This is a burden we’ve been called to bear but one God faithfully and lovingly equipped us to bear. 
   But recently it has been brought abruptly home to me that sometimes we must endure times of sickness or heartache, as well, without the comfort of having our long distance family nearby. Recently a precious missionary mom I know was smacked with the dreaded diagnosis of cancer. It has knocked all of us who love this family off our feet. We don’t know what the future holds and that’s troubling. (But we must always remember, this comforting Truth thought: We know God holds our future!)
   Yet, my first thoughts when I heard the news was of her missionary daughter, her son in law, and her two grandsons and of the struggle they would be going through not being able to wrap their physical arms around her in love and comfort. I can only imagine what this news is doing to them. But we must remember, that there is a spiritual battle waging that is just as severe as the diagnosis of cancer.
   While my friend is struggling to find her bearings in the midst of this ruthless storm (and she needs to be allotted that time) there is some warfare for which her family and friends must prepare. Satan’s plan will be to tempt her to loose her focus and forget all the weapons God has prepared for her with which to overcome her enemy. Physical and emotional pain will likely become so intense that she might be tempted to give up under the weight of it all. 
   That’s where we come alongside of her physically and prayerfully standing ready and equipped to do whatever the Holy Spirit prompts us to do. Bringing to her attention those Truth thoughts abundant in Scripture that will lift her above her turmoil. And as we pray, we must consider her missionary kids and what we can do to stand in for them as we also consider their emotional pain.

My friend, posted this verse this morning, the day after she found out she had stage 4 cancer.

I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. Philippians 1:20

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)

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