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Compensations of sacrifice

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   A call from God can present some difficult challenges. So God always equips those He calls. God called my son and my daughter in law to the mission field.  Therefore, they have been and continue to be equipped by God to be able to deal with the challenges of such a life. But just as my son received God’s call to go, I received God’s call as well–to let him go.  

  Since their departure, God has given me opportunities I could never have imagined.   I’ve traveled to Peru where I have walked the ancient stone paths of Machu Picchu. In Africa I experienced the excitement of a safari, floated down the Nile River of Moses fame, and lived in a thatched roof mud hut in the savannah bush. A lifelong dream to go to Scotland was fulfilled not once but 3 times while my son studied for his masters at the University of Edinburgh.

   All of these adventures went a long way in compensating me for the sacrifice God had called upon me to make. But these adventures alone couldn’t have made up for the heartache my son’s exodus brought about.

But the following  has

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4

My pain forced me to rely on God

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2 Corinthians 12:9

In God I found comfort

The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears, and delivers them from all their troubles.  The LORD is near the brokenhearted; He saves those crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:17

I learned to focus on God, not my pain

  You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on You. Isaiah 26:33
  It was good for me to be affected so that I could learn Your statues. Instructions from Your lips is better for me than thousands of gold and silver pieces. Psalm 119:71

I learned that my pain would not overwhelm me

Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning, great is Your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23

I have drawn again and again upon the lessons I’ve learned from my experience as a missionary’s mom. And that is compensation far beyond any sacrifice I could have made.

 

BACK TO THE BUSH: Malaria strikes again!

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Bush Camp, Home of some rather extraordinary memories!
Bush Camp, Home of some rather extraordinary memories!
   It was but a few days left for my stay at the bush camp when the two staff’s children came down with malaria. The plan was that my son would take me back to base camp and there I would say goodbye to my daughter in law and grandson, as well as my co-teacher friend. At this point, I had no idea how this malaria thing would affect my exit plans.
   It was sort of up in the air as to who would go with us (my son and I) to the capital city. As it turned out one of the trainee families (2 adults and 3 children) needed a ride to the capital. However, if they went with us, then my daughter in law, grandson, and teacher friend would not be able to go with us for lack of room in the vehicle. This was hard for me for it meant I would have to say goodbye to them at base camp. Yet, I had begun to accept things that did not turn out according to my plans; maybe not as gracefully as I should of but accepting them nevertheless. There are some things you just don’t have control over and submitting to the will of God is your only option; that is if you want to stay sane!
My new forever friends!
My new forever friends!
   So I said goodbye to my bush camp friends, and bush camp with no idea if or when I would ever see them again. Though my time with these friends and this place  was brief, the impact they had on me would be with me for the rest of my life! My heart was and always will be grateful for these new friends and my bush camp experience.
My tukal; my dwelling place along with my 2 friends. Yes, I will miss it! As hard as that is to believe!
My tukal; my dwelling place along with my 2 friends. Yes, I will miss it! As hard as that is to believe!

 

    When we got back to base camp, my son began feeling feverish and went to bed with 104 degree temperature. Since malaria was strongly suspected, he began taking the necessary meds to treat it.
   You know how God often works out things that don’t seem so good to our benefit!?  Well, because I was there, I was able to take care of my son, giving him his meds through the night. That allowed my daughter in law to focus her attention on her son and get a much needed night’s rest. Yet, it was this mother’s joy to be available to care for my son in his sickness. You mom’s who read this will totally get why!
   I prayed for my precious family and friend, that God would spare them from coming down with malaria. There were two more weeks of bush camp left and they still had responsibilities to fulfill.
   Now, my concern was that my son would have enough time to improve in health before it came time to take me to the capital city and on to the airport. I intensified my prayers for my son and that I would be spared this malady!

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: 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: 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: 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!

BACK TO THE BUSH: A day in the life of this unlikely missionary!

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Our humble classroom!

Our humble classroom!

2-16-13

     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.

 

 

 

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