God works in our lives in ways that we could never plan or figure out. Sometimes He places people in our path just at the time we needed it most. Last night was one of those times for me.
This last month has been a very emotional month for me. Visiting Grandpa and having him pass away, being the cause of an accident in which our deputation van was totalled, finding out that another baby is on the way, my emotions have run the gamut from extreme sorrow to great joy. We’ve also struggled with sickness in the last week or so. To say the least I’ve been feeling a little tired and struggling with discouragement, grieving and burn-out. Yesterday afternoon one of the boys woke up from his nap with a slight fever but it was gone after he’d been up for a little while. I tried to talk James into letting me stay home with the kids while he went on to the meeting by himself. He wanted me to go. So we all went.
We got out of the house later than we had planned and so were running late already but the weather wasn’t that great (a little drizzly rain that had all the drivers around us being extra cautious) so we couldn’t go as fast as the speed limit even. The church wasn’t where the directions said it was, at least we couldn’t see it. We drove past it three times because we didn’t know that the street name on the one side of the road we were on was different than the name of the street on the other. Finally we got there, several minutes late and got the children to their various classes. James got up to show the slides and the slide projector broke, not just a burned out bulb, the thing that moves the slides in and out of the projector quit (James was able to fix it today, so we again have a working slide projector.). The pastor was so gracious in everything as were the people of the church. It just seemed like everywhere we turned we ran into an obstacle.
After church an elderly couple, named Dan and Ann Zimmerman, came up to us and began to visit. They had been in Mali and Niger and other portions of Northwestern Africa for about 30 years. He had done Bible translation work in Mali. Most of their children had been born there on the foreign field and all of them are serving God today, one as a missionary in Quebec. They invited us to their home and showed us picture after picture of how God had blessed their work in these Muslim nations. Churches with trained national pastors were left behind when they had to leave because of pressure from Kadafi in Lybia. We sat and visited with them for a long time and looked at hymnals they translated and work they did while on the field. They showed us things the people whom they had helped had made for them as thank you gifts. It was a blessing and an encouragement. Their eyes frequently filled with tears as they thought about the country they had lived in for so long, which they still carry a burden and love for after all these years.
As we left their house Mrs. Zimmerman gave me a hug and said “The Lord bless you and keep you and cause His face to shine upon you.” This old warrior of the faith had pronounced a blessing on me. It brought me to tears and reminded me the torch MUST be passed on to a younger generation. She had lived in the desert for so many years. I could leave the security of the familiar and move to a land that I don’t know. She had done it and could tell me about it. One day, I will be in her place, telling another generation what God has used me to do in Uganda.
We left that house greatly encouraged, the “burnt-out” feeling gone, a reminder given to us that this mission we are on to Uganda is so much bigger than we are and spans far more than we could do on our own. We go in the power of our Lord who will give the grace to go day by day and do the thing He has called us to do.
Thank you all for your prayers!