Saturday, January 10, 2015

Persevering in Hard Times

I have so much to catch you up on.  My brain is full and my heart is heavy.  Do I share with you all the joys from our family life?  Fill you in on our trials and hardships?  Let you know how ministry is going?  Some ways I have simply been to weary to write anything and too low to respond to anyone, but my heart wants to share with you.  How?  I’d love to sit and have coffee with you, soak in some wisdom, be loved in your hug, and covered with prayers.  I can’t share everything but I do want to share my life with you as best I can. 

As a family we are healthy and blessed.  So thankful for all your prayers during so much sickness!  Health is not something to take for grated. 

Malai is two (Dec. 27) and starting to talk more and more.  She has personality!  We are always laughing because of her.  Her new cute thing is dancing – she just has to move whenever she hears music or we are singing.  I love when she says her new favorite phrase, “oh yah, oh yah”, and does a little dance.  Malai now things she has to pray after every meal.  She covers her eyes and gabbers away.  She is learning names too.  She use to call Lydia “LaLo” but now can say “Lilia”.  She now knows Lucy’s name too (the women who helps us).  Mostly she will just yell “boy!” when she wants to call the kids.  More and more I am hearing little sentences from her too.  Everything she says makes me smile.  She is also learning Ateso.  About ¼ of her words are in Ateso.  It is so cute.  She yells for the girls to come in Ateso, tells us to pray in Ateso, and to go.  How exciting to think she could know Ateso in a few years.  Josh hopes she does so she can teach him.  We have all improved and learned more Ateso living in Obulle.  Don’t get me wrong it is VERY little yet but nice to be able to hear and communicate a little more.  

Luka asked Jesus to be in his heart a couple month ago!  How special to pray with him and see him begin to understand and grow.  He is all boy and enjoys making guns out of sticks and playing with his bow and arrows.  He also loves anything with a ball.  Josh is thankful to have a son to share similar interests.  Funny story about Luka, the other day he told the girls we needed to get rid of something because the lady was wearing a “zucchini”.  At first we didn’t know what he meant until Grace said not a zucchini a bikini! 

Lydia continues to grow up.  What a beautiful young lady she is becoming.  Thankfully she still willing to play with her siblings too.  A mix of girl and lady.  I admire Lydia’s faith.  We have family worship on Sunday evenings and her prayers encourage me.  The other night she prayed that all the meetings would stop so the adults wouldn’t have to be overwhelmed and that we were all able to focus on the positive things instead of the negative.  Grace too prays from the heart.  She often thanks God for her neighbor friends and the example they are to her and that she can be a good example to them too.  She prays deeply about the suffering they see and hear about all around them. 

Josh preached his first part of a sermon in Ateso!  I was so shocked and he did it so naturally that I almost missed it.  It was only the introduction but he did great.  The people loved it!  It was funny to have the translator translate his Ateso to English.  Pray for Josh to continue to learn Ateso and find a good teacher.  His goal is to preach a whole sermon in Ateso this year. 

As for me…I turned 36 Dec. 15.  The best part of my birthday was hearing why each family member loved and appreciated me.  I am so glad my girls are thankful I teach them about Jesus, spend time with them, help them as they grow, and love them.  And have a husband who adores me, appreciates me and is my best friend.  Most of all I am thankful God loves me and planned for me before time.  I am made, used and loved by the King!

Josh’s parents visited for almost three weeks.  It was great to share our new home with them and for them to see their grandkids play with their friends and speak Ateso.  We also made fun memories on safari.  I am thankful for their visit but over the last few years there has been a switch.  The first 10 years on the mission field I longed for visitors.  I needed them.  Now it seems the visitors need to come and see us.  I am NOT saying I do not want visitors!  I am just saying our family and home are now established I am not so needy.  I am thankful family and friends want to come and see us.  My parents are now coming in February.  The kids can’t wait!

Now for the hardships we are going through.  How do I share this?  We have been on the mission field since 2001 and this has been the most difficult three months we have had.  We have been through sicknesses even near death sickness, loneliness and isolation, threats and danger…but when it is the pain of relationships, confusion satan brings, waiting and nothing you can do, ministry on hold because of the mess and wrongs done it effects everything.  People can really hurt people.  I realize more and more I am a very discerning person – I can just feel to the core when something is right or wrong.  It isn’t something I talk about much or go on because how do you explain it?  But during the most difficult weeks I was distraught like never before.  I just knew things were going very wrong. 

We have gone through all the emotions.  Sometimes it seems like our 8 years of learning and ministry can be ruined or stolen in a matter of days.  Our conclusion over and over is that satan got his hand in this.  The confusion points right to him.  So we know God is at work if satan is trying to attack so badly.  I do admit though it is also one of the times in my life I had to hang on to Jesus with all my might because it was by faith not sight.  Everything around us was painful, confusion, a mess, feeling upset, stress, and unending.  I had to daily – or moment by moment – choose to believe the truth and trust God and His Word.  I didn’t always feel it but I chose to believe it.  It was a roller coaster.  I was tired and low from the continual hurt and wrongs that wouldn’t end.  Who do you go to?  Who do you talk to?  We live in a village in Africa and all the white people know each other, not everyone at home understands especially the uniqueness of the mission field, and you can’t say too much or are too tired to say it – plus who wants to say it over Skype?  I needed to be held. 

Each day we choose to spend time in God’s Word and praying knowing His truth would sustain us.  He would lead our emotions, give us wisdom, and assurance.  Some days it was an act of obedience, but I am telling you there is nothing other than God and His Word that will get you through difficult times!  The promises that God gives us are true.  They are what gave me enough strength to go on another day.  To believe God was with us and at work.  I had no hope unless I truly trusted God. 

One of the big promises I held on to is that God is our Defender.  Everything we did would be viewed wrong so we had to trust God would defend us.  I also held on dearly to God is my Refuge.  He is my place of safety and peace.  He is my Shield protecting me.  My Rock in the storm and when emotions can go everywhere He is my stability. 

The Psalms are an amazing expression of all we have cried out.  Like David we prayed to God in our pain, tears, anger, confusion, stress, fear…crying out to Him to hear and answer us.  Almost every Psalm of David after the despair and complaints ends with praise and trust in God.  That was my prayer over and over.  I am completely honest with God – He can handle all of me – I was broken before Him.  I share my hurt, anger, and my sin.  And in the end I know God is God.  He is in control and I will trust Him.  He is worthy of all our praise.

So here we are.  There are no answers or conclusion yet.  We are still dealing with all that has happened.  But somehow now I have much more peace.  It isn’t over and the future is unsure but we know what we need to do.  Josh and I have chosen to forgive.  We will seek reconciliation but we can only do our part.  We are seeking the Lord’s will so we can follow obediently.  Right now we know God has called us to serve Him in Obulle.

We are also seeking council from wise, godly leaders in our lives. This week God sent three different ways (people) who affirmed us and shared great wisdom.  We were very encouraged by this.  I have been reading Blessed are the Peacemakers by Neil Anderson about Christ’s ministry of reconciliation given to us.  I liked his definition of forgiveness, “forgiveness is accepting the consequence of someone else’s sin.”  It isn’t fair but it is God’s way.  I am seeking the Lord to know what it looks like to love others.  Jesus loved yet wasn’t friends with some.  He even yelled and called names when people were in the wrong.  Yet He is love.  I know my love can only come from Him. 

Well, I guess I shared a lot.  I hope I didn’t share too much yet enough for you to understand and pray with us.  So many of you care about us and have asked how we really are.  Thank you for praying with us.            

1 comment:

Anthony said...

Yoga Aswam Josh on your preaching!

Also praying earnestly about the trials you are going through.